Building Social Connections for a Healthy Brain

Posted on Jul 18, 2022

The true meaning of a healthy life is achieving the perfect balance of physical, mental, and social life. Physical health requires eating right and having an active lifestyle. Optimum mental health is achieved through mindfulness practices and Yoga. Social well-being is much needed especially as age advances. Social cognition involves all the abilities that enable us to understand social agents and interact with them.

Need for social circles
Building social networks and participating in social activities are like exercises for your brain because they keep your mind agile and improve cognitive function. Socialization can even help prevent mental decline and lower the risk of dementia. There is a great popular interest in knowing what can be done to preserve good cognitive function and prevent Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Research shows that people with an active social life are less likely to have cognitive decline than those who live alone or do not socialize at all.

Ways to promote meaningful social engagement
Social activities do not inevitably lead to meaningful engagement with others.It is always better to have a selective social circle of individuals you enjoy spending time with and feel positive about. A number of factors occur with older age that may increase the likelihood of decreased participation in meaningful social and intellectual activities in older adulthood. Here are some ways to have fruitful social connections:

  • Focus on the relationships or social activities you enjoy the most. For example, take a hobby class such as painting, dancing, or even cooking with your peers.
  • Have a small circle of friends, family, or neighbours with whom you can exchange ideas, thoughts, concerns, and practical matters, and who can also help or encourage you.
  • Reach out to neighbours or acquaintances whom you may not have spoken to in a long time: for example, call, send a card, email, or try using social media.
  • Try to have at least one trustworthy and reliable confidante to communicate with regularly, someone you feel you can trust and you can count on and whose company you enjoy. 
  • If you are already socially active, diversify your activities. Consider joining or starting a group that doesn’t exist in your community and is centred around a common interest such as a Book Club. 
  • You can volunteer at various organizations based on your interest, such as a local community centre or a school.
  • Maintain social connections with people of different ages, including younger people.