Humans are often regarded as ‘social animals’ because of their amazing ability to interact with people around them. Socializing is all about interacting with new people, sharing your views with them and listening to what they feel, in fact it can be safely regarded as a way of making new friends and building new relationships. Social interaction is all about speaking out your heart and having an open mind to listen to other’s opinion and this process and interaction is actually considered to play a significant role in the well-being of human beings.
Social quotient is all about how one interacts with others and the overall outlook of a person towards a group of known and unknown people. Generally people have divided themselves on the basis of their rate of interaction with others and are commonly referred to as extroverts and introverts. Extroverts are the people who easily interact with people and often have a better social quotient.
On the other hand people that behave in a reserved manner are regarded as introverts and don’t like being part of a social gathering or event. Solitude is not a bad thing, neither it is harmful, but it is pertinent to know that prolonged loneliness is not good for a person’s health and overall well-being. The youth and the middle-aged people today are definitely not alone as they have successfully found their social circle, thanks to the number of social networking sites available on the internet.
However it is the older generation that is facing the brunt of loneliness and depression. Loneliness among seniors not just deteriorates their psychological well-being but also causes a lot of damage to their physical health. In order to find out the relationship between social quotient and human well-being, The University of Chicago recently conducted a research.
The researchers have found that extreme cases of loneliness or prolonged loneliness increase the rate of premature deaths by nearly 14%. The 14% increase in rate of death is in fact much more than the threat obesity poses to the billions of people worldwide. The Research team associated with this study believes that 14% chances of increased death rate is an approximate number that can be even more in certain cases where seniors are suffering from certain ailments. John Cacioppo, Professor of psychology at University of Chicago says that loneliness is in fact the root cause of many health ailments that are encountered by seniors.
The feeling of being lone and unwanted results into dramatic health conditions such as insomnia, hypertension, low immunity, depression and stress. Even the best medication and surgeries are not good enough to cure the impact of loneliness and the diseases caused by it. Thus one needs to understand and value the importance of always being in touch with loved ones. The problem with seniors especially the baby boomer population in America is that they have worked hard and have made enough money in their lives. They have successfully established their kids and have taken retirement from their jobs, thus there are obvious chances of being alone and getting depressed. John Cacioppo is very well aware of this problem and thus he suggests few solutions and remedies to stay connected with ones social life:
Stay connected to ex-colleagues
A person devotes his/her entire youth to an organization and the people who are connected to it and thus place of work always holds a special place in one’s heart. The same is true for the seniors and thus it is advisable for them to stay connected and in touch with their colleagues from work or business always. No matter, how far you are from your ex-colleagues, a meeting or a chat on the phone is good for your social quotient and overall well-being.
Stay close to near and dear ones
Nearness to people you love is definitely required for having a good social life. Most of the seniors have dreamy plans regarding spending their retirement period away from their children in the lap of nature but what is the meaning of life without your loved ones. No matter how noisy or irritating it is to stay near your children and friends, at least you can be sure of not being lonely even for a second.
Attend family functions
Most of seniors cut themselves off from all the family and friends functions because of their health issues. However it is pertinent for these people to stay in touch with society at all times in order to stay in great shape and health. Being part of a function or tradition is always rewarding in a number of ways.
Firstly, one gets to interact with a number of people that surely combats loneliness and secondly, it reenergizes the person to the core. John and his team in their research even found that it is not actually the act of staying alone that makes a person lonely, it is the subjective loneliness that makes a person depressed and unhealthy. Thus a person staying all alone may still be socially active than the person who stays in a huge house with a big family but has no companion that understands him and his opinions. Thus loneliness is subjective and malleable and must be combated using the following three dimensions of social connectedness:
ü Intimate connectedness As the name suggests, this feeling comes when you have a person in your life that truly defines and determines who you actually are. This one is the most personal type of interaction.
ü Relational connectedness The second type of connectedness comes from the people who we actually interact with. It is more social connection than in intimate connectedness as a person has face-to-face communication with such people.
ü Collective connectedness Both the above said relations has individual aspects, however this one comes with the feeling of being connected to a group of people that share similar interests and preferences and stay together for certain purpose such as members of certain club etc. All in all, social interaction is extremely important in determining one’s overall well-being and one can easily achieve all the three dimensions of social connectedness by putting in certain amount of efforts and patience.
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