May is Mental Health Awareness Month
“Connect with Others” Here is a good read from Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/connect-others
Finding other people to relate to and doing things that bring you enjoyment are great ways to improve your mood and overall mental health.
Loneliness is bad for health
Loneliness can cause the same amount of damage to your lifespan as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is more dangerous to health than obesity. 1
Loneliness is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure in older people. 2
Poor social supports make it harder to recover from mental illnesses, while a strong social support system improves overall outcomes and ability to bounce back from stress. 3
Women with breast cancer who have weak support systems before treatment have more pain and symptoms of depression over time. 4
Social interaction and recreation are all around good for you
People with strong social relationships are 50% more likely to live longer.5
People who do things in nature have better perceptions of their own emotional well-being. 6
Taking a vacation can help you to feel happier and less stressed for a while. Even short vacations help!7
One study showed that people who participated in leisure activities like reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing were less likely to develop dementia.8
1 2018 Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index. Retrieved from www.cigna.com/assets/docs/newsroom/loneliness-survey-2018-full-report.pdf.
2 Hawkley LC, Thisted RA, Masi CM & Cacioppo JT. (2010). Loneliness predicts increased blood pressure: 5-year cross-lagged analyses in middle-aged and older adults. Psychology and Aging. 25(1):132-141.
3 Ozbay, F., Johnson, D. C., Dimoulas, E., Morgan III, C. A., Charney, D., & Southwick, S. (2007). Social support and resilience to stress: from neurobiology to clinical practice. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 4(5):35.
4 Hughes, Spencer, et al. (2014). Social support predicts inflammation, pain, and depressive symptoms: longitudinal relationships among breast cancer survivors. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 42:38-44
5 Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316.
6 Korpela K, Tyrväinen L. (2014). Analyzing the mediators between nature-based outdoor recreation and emotional well-being. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 37: 1-7.
7 Chen, C.-C., & Petrick, J. F. (2013). Health and Wellness Benefits of Travel Experiences: A Literature Review. Journal of Travel Research. 52(6):709–719.
8 Verghese J, Lipton RB, et al. (2003). Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly. The New England Journal of Medicine. 348:2508-2516.