Being Social Boosts Your Memory

Introverts around the world, brace yourselves. The results of a recent study may cause you to recoil in angst: it turns out that being social actually helps protect memory and prevent cognitive decline.

Research at Ohio State University in Columbus found that having larger social networks helps to protect the brain as it ages. The study, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, found that being socially active, particularly as we become older, offers both mental and physical health benefits.

The notion of being socially active offering health benefits is not new, but what has been unclear is whether being socially active offers the physical and brain health benefits or whether people with cognitive impairment are more inclined to avoid social activity. The Ohio State University researchers set out to find out whether the social activity offers the added health benefits.

In the new study, researchers gave aging mice that were either housed as individuals or couples. All of the animals were given the same opportunity to explore and learn. The team found that, in this way, they were able to ascertain that, indeed, simply having a larger social network was sufficient to benefit an aging brain. While the research in the field is early, it seems likely that the benefits extend to humans as well.

9 Ways Introverts Can Reap the Benefits of Socializing

So, what’s an introvert to do? Let’s face it: excessive social activity can cause sensory overload or exhaustion. If you’re an introvert like me who would rather spend time alone or among a stack of books than with people, but you still want to reap the brain health benefits of social activity, here are some things you can do:

Keep the Social Visits Short

Find ways of socializing with others that also allow you to keep the visits short and sweet. For me, that means heading out to my local café where I thoroughly enjoy chatting with a few of the friendly staff, but can also leave whenever I’m ready to start introverting again.

Interact on Your Schedule

Most introverts I know regret setting appointments or scheduling their visits with others. When the date arrives they often wish they weren’t committed to something sociable. While it is not always respectful to wait until the day arrives, if you can, it may be beneficial to wait to see if you’re up for socializing.

Go Old School

Sometimes a good old-fashioned phone call can feel like socializing, without the huge time or energy commitment of other types of activities.

Choose One-on-One

Rather than commit to a whole night out with a large group of people, select a friend or two to hang out.

Quiet Setting

Loud and busy night clubs or other similar venues are more likely to cause stress and energy depletion than the health benefits of social activity. Choose a quiet, peaceful setting instead.

Walk in a Park or Quiet Neighborhood

You may find the occasional “hello” or “how are you?” easier than engaging in long-winded conversations, making a walk the perfect way to engage in social activity but easy to move on from.

Familiar Surroundings

Often introverts find it easier to socialize in familiar settings than in unfamiliar ones. Choose a place that feels comfortable for socializing.

Choose to Socialize with Other Introverts

Socializing with someone who tends to be quiet and reflective rather than a chatty, high-energy person may be easier for introverts. It has been my experience that introverts are more likely to understand each other.

Know Your Limits

While it is important to partake in social activities to reap the health and cognitive benefits, it is also important to not overdo it. Excessive social activity can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted, negating the benefits altogether.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, preserving, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:  The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain. Follow her work.

 

42 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hillabout a month ago

thanks

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Patricia A
Past Member about a month ago

thank you

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Sarah A
Past Member about a month ago

Thanks

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Paulo R
Paulo Reesonabout a month ago

ty

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Leo C
Leo Custerabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Peggy B
Peggy B1 months ago

Noted

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric1 months ago

tks

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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