March 19, 2023

Just one conversation daily boosts mental health


By Lynn Allison From Newsmax

A new study suggests that having just one conversation with a friend daily can help your mental health. The study published in SAGE Journals shows the importance of human connection and how simple steps can help people preserve mental well-being.

According to Healthline, the pandemic took a dramatic toll on many people’s mental and emotional health.

“Small moments of connection as so important for us as part of the human experience,” said Thea Gallagher, clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “Post-COVID, many of us still work from home and still have limited social contact. People have moved and changed. Lives are different. Finding places of connection are so important for mental health. Social connection and community have a large effect mitigating depression and anxiety.”

The study included 900 participants from five university campuses before, during, and after the pandemic lockdowns. The participants were directed to engage in one of seven communications behaviors during a single day and report back that evening about their feelings of stress, connection, anxiety, well-being, loneliness, and the quality of their day. The seven behaviors included:

• Catching up.

• Meaningful talk.

• Joking around.

• Showing care.

• Listening.

• Valuing others and their opinions.

• Offering sincere compliments.

The study found that it didn’t matter which of the behaviors the participants practiced. It was the action of reaching out that had direct positive effects on overall mood and behavior. According to the New York Post, those who engaged in any type of communication throughout their day reported higher qualities of well-being and happiness, especially increased feelings of connection and decreased stress, compared to those who did not connect with others that day.

“The study suggests that anyone who makes time for high-quality conversation can improve their well-being. We can change how we feel on any given day through communication,” said study co-author Jeffrey Hall, a University of Kansa professor of communication studies. “Just once is all it takes.”

People who had more than one conversation daily fared even better.

“This means the more you listened to your friends, the more you showed you care, the more that you took time to value others’ effort, the better you felt at the end of the day,” said Hall.

Gallagher noted that during the pandemic, there was a 25% increase in depression due to the lack of quality human connection.

“Finding ways to come back to that, even in small ways, can be powerful,” she noted. Discussing mental health has become increasingly normalized, says Healthline, and studies like this show that simple steps in communication can support mental well-being.“When we see these articles, we need to be intentional

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