January Depression and Social Interactions

January is a time I always experience depression. I’ve been injured or ill most Januarys in my adult life. I’m more sedentary, getting less Vitamin D, melatonin, and less social interactions with neighbors or the general public. And let’s not forget the fabulous weather we have. (I live in the upper region if South Carolina where we have cold, rainy Januarys).

Besides using my Emotional Journal, I need some time outside, whatever exercise I can do, and a daily interaction with a friend. Talking, praying, to getting together at Starbucks are a few of my favorite fun and deeper ways of interacting.

Generally the more depressive state reports more negative social interactions. Research had shown that the more depressive symptoms who experience both a high number of positive AND negative interactions showed a state of well being. (N.B. Allen & P.B. Badcock, 2003). When we experience more social interactions, both negative and positive, we are more sensitized to the people of every day life. We face both social rejection and social acceptance.

Humans were created to have the need for connections and to gain acceptance into social groups. We have bonding ideas, beliefs, activities, or experiences and we work hard to keep these bonds strong. We need the connections emotionally and spiritually, as it plays into our mental health, and can cause negative physical health symptoms.

Even if I can’t meet face to face with a friend, a phone call or at least a text to say hi helps to lift my spirit. Instead of going through a drive through to eat, do laundry or banking, try getting out of your car and comfort zone and walk in to talk to a live person. If you are in a line for checkout, do you automatically get on your phone to avoid people, or make small talk, smile, ask how someone’s day is going – and listen to their answer. Try to be positive, even if they are not.

Right now, I’m headed to the dog groomer to pick up my spaniel and are walking into the business and try to talk to the groomer.

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