Can Social Interaction Help Me Cope With Stress?

Question: Can social interaction help me cope with stress?

Answer: You know, if you were to ask me, "What are the three or four main things I can do to help cope with stress in my life?" One would be exercise. But right up there with it, tied with number one would be social interactions, the quality of one's social relationships.

One of the few things, I think, that is absolutely clear in the world scientific literature in terms of things that promote health is this repeated finding that the more social connections a person has that are positive, the better their health is likely to be, the less illnesses they're likely to have, the less likely they are to get depressed, and the longer they are likely to live. And there's a couple of aspects of social connections that seem to confer this benefit.

One is just the depth and richness of one's relationships. So the more people one knows, and the more interesting and different types of people one knows, the better for one's health. And the other finding is that the more one has at least one close confidant, that one can be really transparently honest with, the more likely they are to have better health, the more likely they are to be less stressed, and the less likely they are to be depressed.