By: Imani Whitley
Have you ever wanted to talk to someone just because? An acquaintance, friend, or a person you think you’ll get along with, but let me guess: you haven’t. Reaching out to someone can be difficult but not impossible. Plus, it’s scientifically proven that you should for a multitude of reasons, and you might be thinking, “Sure, if you say so…” But let me introduce you to reasons why you just should do it.
The first reason is that it’s more enjoyable than we think. A study was performed by Peggy Liu from the University of Pittsburgh, in one of her studies, she gathered 1,000 strangers and had them talk to each other. In short, most people said they enjoyed it more than they thought they would.
Another reason is that it strengthens your bond with others. Whether it’s making a new friend or maybe checking up on a friend, taking the time to do this betters your relationships and can brighten someone else's mood. And maybe your own.
The next and most crucial reason you should reach out is to check up on someone. Everyone struggles sometimes, and on those days, it’s especially appreciated when someone takes the time to check up on you. This is why, in turn, if you know someone having a tough day you should reach out because even a simple conversation can lift a person’s spirits.
Last but not least are the concluding paragraphs that’ll convince you once and for all to reach out: it improves your mental and physical state. Social isolation is quite literally being alone with no one to talk to. According to a study in the “Journal of the American Heart Association,” if you’re living with heart failure, social isolation can increase your chances of death from 50-90%. Being socially inactive can also increase your risks of high blood pressure or inflammation and tends to make people more aggressive. While there are many more physical risks, there are also the mental ones. A study on mice was done where the mice were all socially isolated for two weeks. The mice ended up with negative behavioral shifts, changes in brain chemistry, and ‘social isolation stress’.
Moving on, we’re going to discuss loneliness. Loneliness is feeling alone even if you’re surrounded by people. Generally speaking, people who live alone have more social interaction, not less. As I’ve mentioned before, loneliness isn’t being by yourself, it’s feeling alone. No matter how physically close you are to someone, you can still feel alone. Lonely people tend to die earlier than others and research suggests that long-term conditions of loneliness are similar to the ones of smoking.
But, even though what I’ve discussed in the prior paragraphs is a bit morbid, it’s okay to be lonely and alone for temporary periods. It’s good for you. It’s a sign of wanting to build social connections.
To wrap up this article, reaching out is important. It’s fun, it strengthens your connection with others, it’s considerate, and it’s important for your mental and physical health. So, next time you think of someone you haven’t talked to in a while, call them! I promise it’ll be worthwhile.