The Importance of Social Interaction
After all that’s transpired since the pandemic, socializing and maintaining relationships has turned into a sore spot for many of us. It makes sense – with online services from grocery shopping to remote work and so much more – it’s easier than ever to live your life without ever leaving your home. In many ways, this is a good thing. There’s less waste, you save time and gas, and there’s more accessibility. Nevertheless, our social lives have suffered.
Today we’re faced with less opportunities to mingle with people, and we spend more time alone than we ever have in the past. Which means it’s more important than ever to prioritize our social lives and make time connecting with other people. If your social anxiety is severe and renders you unable to function in your daily life, please make it a point to reach out for help. Our counselors and psychologists at Dr. Messina and Associates are here for you.
Socializing For Your Health
Anxiety and depression thrive in silence. Our mental health deteriorates when we don’t feel a sense of belonging in the world. Whether you live in a rural town or a booming city, the people that surround us are essential to our quality of life.
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, you know what a lonely experience this can be. It also has great impacts on our mental health. As humans, we’re hardwired to crave connection with the people around us, and our social bonds are vital to a stable community. Strong communities cultivate a sense of belonging and stability. When we work to empower each other, it creates a positive domino effect. Where do you think the attitudes of society come from? They don’t fall out of thin air. Our attitudes and beliefs are strongly influenced by the ideas that surround us. If we want to make an impact on society, we must be an active participant in it.
We can try to go at this life alone, and many of us try at some point – but in truth, it’s not sustainable. Our social lives are the bedrock of our health and emotional well-being. We’re better together than we are alone. Maintaining a healthy social life is linked to better memory, cognitive function, self-esteem, and even physical health.
Socializing With Poor Mental Health
When you’re depressed or socially anxious, it can feel uncomfortable to be sociable, since mental health challenges and isolation often go hand in hand. Bear in mind that self-Isolation only perpetuates the cycle of depression and anxiety and leads to other adverse health effects. Chronic self-isolation impairs our sleep, healing abilities, and overall brain function. Human connection, no matter how small, helps lessen mental health symptoms. If you battle with isolation, you can find ways to innovate your social experiences to make them more manageable. A few ways to engage with other people without damaging your health might look like:
- Meeting with people in places that don’t feel too overwhelming to you
- One on one activities with people who make you feel safe
- Digital dates with friends
- Going for a walk or any solo activity in a public place
It’s okay if you don’t desire to have an exhaustive list of social events on your calendar. Everyone operates with a unique social battery. Find what works for you and go at your own pace.
Overcoming Social Anxiety
It takes practice and consistency, but it’s imperative to let go of perfection. Social anxiety stems from the fear of being judged or humiliated, and over 15 million Americans suffer from it each year. Learning how to take ourselves less seriously and laugh a little is a remarkably effective coping method. The belief that people are always looking at you is harmful to our mental health and takes a toll on our life. Learning how to relax and let go in a social environment takes time, but the results are worth it. It helps to know that you aren’t alone in this experience.
When you’re feeling uncomfortable in a social situation, it can be a huge relief to let the people around you know what’s going on. You can’t process emotions if you don’t express them. If you’re ever in a social situation and feel the jitters coming on, it’s a good practice to communicate that. Most people will even forgive you if you ask for a moment alone.
Make Someone Smile
This might sound silly, but making someone else feel good about themselves is a rewarding experience for both the giver and the receiver. It also takes the attention off yourself. Next time you’re feeling anxious, and your nerves are on the edge, compliment the next person you see.
Feel Good About Feeling Bad
We often romanticize the feeling of being happy to the point that we dread feeling anything else. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be happy every moment of the day, yet we do it anyway. Sometimes we just need to let ourselves feel our feelings. Whatever you’re feeling in the moment, learn to own it. The sooner we own what we’re feeling, the sooner it evaporates.
Seek Out Support
If you suffer from severe anxiety or depression, maintaining a social life likely feels impossible. You’re not alone. It’s important to find a safe space to talk about your problems. If you or a loved one are going through a mental health crisis, please reach out. We have virtual and in-person appointments available to you.
Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.