Social Life and Health

Our survival depends on the ability to build mutually beneficial relationships with others. It is important for us to feel connected, to be trusted and loved. Feeling connected to others increases imagespsychological and physical well-being and decreases the risk of depression and physical ailments. A sense of connectedness also increases empathetic responding as well as acts of trust and cooperation.

Social interactions have a profound effect on health. People with a higher quality of social relationships show a lower risk of death, while social isolation has been shown as a major risk factor for mortality. Unfortunately, despite the clear benefits of social connectedness, our society is becoming increasingly isolated and distrustful.

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Recent animal studies provide vital information that positive social interactions play an important role in the regulation of stress responses (Babygirija et al. 2011; Babygirija et al. 2012).