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    Mayo Clinic Minute: The benefits of being socially connected

Hanging out with family and friends not only can be fun, but research also shows it benefits your mental and physical health. Dr. Craig Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist, agrees that socializing is key to good health.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Socializing is good for your mind and body.

"We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we're in a community and being around others," Dr. Sawchuk says.

He adds that people who spend a lot of time alone, such as the elderly or new moms, may have an increased risk of depression and lower quality of life. You don't have to be supersocial to see benefits of connecting with others.

"Just being able to shoot the breeze, you know, about certain things can be a very, very positive type of thing," Dr. Sawchuk says.

Socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but also it helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer. In-person is best, but connecting via technology also works.

"There's an opportunity for some protective effects or some beneficial effects of being able to use technology to bring socialization to individuals rather than putting it on the individual to seek it out themselves," Dr. Sawchuk says.