11 tips be more social for your own happiness

Your social skills and happiness are connected. Read on to know how to be more social for the sake your happiness and mental health.
Be more social for the sake of your mental health. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 5 Mar 2024, 08:59 am IST

Humans are inherently social creatures, but not everyone is fond of being part of huge crowds. They just enjoy spending time alone by watching shows, listening to music or reading books after a long week. But social interactions, especially the positive ones, are also important. Being social is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction for most of us. Your mental health can get a boost if you have positive social interactions. Let us tell you ways to be more social even if you are an introvert.

Why are some people not social?

There are a variety of reasons why some people may not be very sociable.

1. Introvert

Some are simply introverted by nature. They feel more comfortable and energised spending time alone rather than interacting with others, explains psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Achal Bhagat.

People with low self-esteem may have difficulty in being sociable. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Low self-esteem

There are people who may have social anxiety or low self-esteem. This can make them avoid social situations out of fear.

3. Childhood experiences

Bullying while growing up can be traumatic for people. Even isolation during childhood can impact sociability later in life.

Also, certain conditions like autism or mood disorders may make it challenging for people to navigate social cues or communicate effectively. Regardless of the reasons, everyone has a different level of sociability, notes the expert.

Why is being social important for mental health?

Positive social interactions tend to meet basic psychological needs for us to thrive.

Here are reasons why social interactions are important:

  • Having positive social interactions helps boost mood through the release of endorphins and lowering of stress hormones. Laughing and enjoying time spent with others provides an emotional uplift.
  • Social connections provide a sense of belonging and feelings of self-worth which are vital for good mental health. Those without close relationships are at higher risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, says Dr Bhagat.
  • Friends and loved ones act as emotional support systems by being empathetic listeners and providing advice or perspective during difficult times. This social support enhances resilience.
  • Being social keeps the mind engaged, potentially delaying cognitive decline, especially important in ageing populations.
  • The companionship, support, intimacy, and enjoyment provided by relationships directly fuels positive emotions and happiness.

Be it a romantic partner, close friend, family member, or community group, most people ultimately achieve greater happiness through positive social contact and bonds, says the expert.

What are the ways to be more social?

Don’t limit your social interactions to your family or childhood friends or lover. You can also chat with a coworker or a neighbor. A 2022 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that you will be happier if you made your portfolio of social interactions more diverse. Here are ways to be more social:

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1. Join a club or group activity

Pursue a hobby, interest, or volunteer activity that allows you to regularly interact with like-minded people in a communal setting. Joining a club or engaging in a group activity gives you a sense of belonging.

Join a club to be more social. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Make conversation with strangers

Practice engaging with people you encounter, like making small talk with someone standing in line. This helps build confidence, but don’t give out personal details.

3. Put down devices

Reduce screen time and be fully present to focus on face-to-face connections. This shows you are attentive and interested, says the expert.

4. Ask questions

Don’t just talk and share your own stories. Be curious about others and be an active listener during discussions. This demonstrates caring.

5. Maintain eye contact

Look at people in the eyes when talking. This projects confidence and builds rapport. It also shows that you are interested in the topic of discussion.

6. Smile and be upbeat

Display positivity in your body language. So, it may be good to smile as much as you can, but not too much. This attracts others and enlivens conversations.

7. Attend get-togethers

Accept invitations to social gatherings whenever it is possible for you. This expands your circle of connections. It can be a school reunion or a night-out with your colleagues.

8. Schedule catch-ups

Regularly meet up with acquaintances or friends for meals or fun activities when you are free. This will help to nurture relationships.

9. Extend invitations

Apart from accepting invitations, take the initiative to invite people to spend time together. This helps to strengthen ties. You can throw a house party or take your friends to your favourite restaurant.

10. Be helpful

Offer advice, assistance, favours, or emotional support when someone asks for it or needs it. This enables meaningful exchanges with those people, says the expert.

11. Give compliments

Offer sincere praise to others regarding their qualities, talents, or kind acts. This makes people feel appreciated.

Natalia Ningthoujam

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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