Why Humans Need Social Interaction
Humans need social interaction to be happy and healthy, but it's sometimes hard to make connections, particularly through the turmoil of lockdowns and isolation. Read on to find out how you can incorporate more social interaction into your life and be happier as a result.
What is social interaction?
Social interaction is the basis of society. When we interact with other humans, we cement expectations and create boundaries and rules. It may be considered unimportant, but it is a basic human need, which forms a crucial part of our psychological makeup. And yet social interaction is anything but simple—it’s complex and subtle, with hundreds of intricate nuances that shape how we behave and think in social situations.
Benefits of social interaction
Even if you’re not a highly sociable person, it’s important to interact with others. Social interaction is associated with positive health benefits, including increased happiness and life satisfaction, improved mental health, lower levels of stress and negative emotions such as depression and anxiety, more rewarding relationships with friends and family members, better physical health outcomes like longer life expectancy, and fewer illnesses overall.
Different types of interactions
There are a number of different types of interactions you can have in life, each with their own benefits. Our social needs include interactions with others, socialisation, physical contact and even play. When these needs are not met, we can become bored or frustrated, which makes us more likely to turn to less healthy behaviours like drinking or overeating.
If you find interacting socially tricky, take small steps. Perhaps start by visiting a local community group as a guest, or joining a club relating to a hobby you enjoy, such as walking. Walking groups can be a less daunting experience when compared to other clubs as there is an activity involved. Small steps are key, and make the process less unsettling. If you are struggling to form social connections and feel this has a detrimental effect on your mental health, please seek support from a professional.