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The Science of Social Connection

DID YOU KNOW that your social life has a direct impact on your health?

Published in the September 2022 Issue Published online: Sep 06, 2022 Articles I.F. Magazine Staff
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DID YOU KNOW that your social life has a direct impact on your health? Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, works to educate people on the impact of our social lives on our health. She defines social connection as “the subjective experience of feeling close to and a sense of belongingness with others.” The benefits of high social connection and dangers of low social connection as she defines them are eyeopening.

Benefits that have been reported from having healthy social connections include lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and better heart health, among other things. Wherever you are at in your personal health journey, you can only benefit from staying connected with the people around you. Don’t take our word for it, ask the experts!

The Benefits of High Social Connection:
• 50% increased chance of longevity
• higher self-esteem and empathy
• stronger gene expression for immunity
• better emotion regulation skills
• lower rates of anxiety and depression
• positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well being

The Dangers of Low Social Connection:
• worse for your health than smoking, high blood pressure or obesity
• higher inflammation at the cellular level
• higher susceptibility to anxiety and depression
• slower recovery from disease
• increased antisocial behavior and violence
• higher risk of suicide

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