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Call Your Friend Now! Because Here’s What Happens When Humans Don’t Have Social Interaction


Social Interaction
Source: Freepik & iStock

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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to plague nations globally, the safest place we can be is at home. But even so, being stuck under lockdown with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ nowhere in sight can get very exhausting and even depressing for some.

The fact that we can no longer meet up with our friends or family like we usually would is already so tough, what more is being forced to be void of human interaction for months on end?


Human interaction is a basic need

Like all basic needs, human interaction is crucial to one’s survival as well. According to Psychology Today, humans have evolved into social beings. The need for dependence and cooperation with one another enhanced humans’ ability to survive under harsh environmental circumstances.

And although things have changed in today’s world, people continue to have the need for affiliation with others and the lack of such connections could lead to problems like loneliness.

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For illustration purposes only


Face-to-face contact helps humans handle stress

To bring science into the discussion, social interaction does have an effect on how our brain responds to stress.

Psychologist Susan Pinker said that face-to-face contact with others triggers parts of our nervous system that releases what she calls a “cocktail of neurotransmitters” that is responsible for regulating our response to stress and anxiety. Basically, when we meet our friends and talk to them, it helps us handle stress factors in the long run.

“Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply, shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress,” Susan Pinker said.

Additionally, she said that social interaction causes the body to release dopamine – a feel-good chemical – which gives humans that ‘high’ feeling and kills pain.

Happy Asian Friends Having Lunch Together 8595 11608

For illustration purposes only

In other words, socialising with friends makes us feel good, and being without human interaction for long periods of time affects our psychological and physical health.


Malaysians are worried about their mental health

Now that Malaysia has been under lockdown since 1 June, there’s no doubt that some of us have or are beginning to feel the effects of not being able to meet people.

Some have even taken their lives as a result of being unable to cope with the stress of constant lockdowns. In just the first five months of 2021, a total of 468 suicide cases have been recorded in Malaysia due to various reasons. This means that on average, three people take their lives daily.

Findings of EMIR Research’s Quarterly Poll also revealed that for the third quarter of 2020, 72% of Malaysians were reportedly worried over their mental health.

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For illustration purposes only

With so much uncertainty and political turmoil happening in Malaysia now, it is important that we take care of our mental health. Call up a friend to talk or reach out for help.

Befrienders are providing emotional support 24 hours a day. It’s never too late to reach out and talk to someone. It’s free and confidential.

Befrienders Hotline: 03 – 7627 2929


Also read: Study: Malaysians’ Interest in Mental Health Related Services & Products Skyrocket By 108% in 2021

Ft Mental Health 1

Source: Freepik
Source: Freepik
Source: Adobe Stock

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