This week is all about being social. In the UK, the 18th of March marks National Conversation Week where we’re all encouraged to talk a little bit more with one another. Why? Well, there are actually a number of benefits to interacting with others, just as there are benefits to having some alone time now and then.

For starters, being more social can actually help you to live longer. A study conducted at Birgham Young University found that loneliness and isolation can have a bigger impact on your life-span than obesity! Another found that those with fewer social connections had a 50% higher risk of dying sooner.

Not to mention, being social can also reduce your risk of stroke, increase your immune system and positively affect your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, one of the biggest benefits to conversation is that it allows you to destress. Humans can be incredibly guilty of keeping things to themselves in fear of burdening others or being embarrassed. Yet, all this does it make the problem worse, give us more anxiety, and cause our mood to spiral downwards.

That’s why we need to become more open to talking about taboo subjects. If someone asks how you are and you’re not feeling good, don’t answer with the obligatory “fine, thanks!” tell them how you’re feeling. If you’re in a moment of need and feel it would be helpful with someone by your side, reach out to them. Equally, let your friends and loved ones know that you’re there for them. Often we don’t have the confidence because we don’t think others want to hear our issues, that’s why we need to extend a hand to those around us to let them know it’s OK to open up.

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