In honour of our sold-out Connect 2018 event this evening, Number 31 in our countdown of '70 Ways Art Improves Our Health' highlights the health benefits of social contact. (And where better to socialise than among art!)

If you’re anything like most of us, you probably do the majority of your communicating through your smartphone or computer. Whether it’s a phone call, text message, social media or email, it’s all done via digital interface. And as this type of communication continues to rise, our face-to-face time with family and friends becomes less and less frequent.

But face-to-face contact and an active social life can provide a number of benefits to both our physical and mental health.

For example, did you know that recent studies have found that those with an active social life live longer, even after considering all other aspects of health?

Group discussion at Connect 2015

Guests at Connect, our networking evening for arts and health professionals. A partnership with London Arts in Health Forum

Socialising also boosts our physical health. We all know about how important social contact is for young children to build immunity to common illnesses. Well, it’s just as important to us in adulthood, and especially in later life, to ensure we maintain a strong immune system to fight off colds and the flu.

The benefits go far beyond our physical health. Research in 2015 found that having limited face-to-face social contact almost doubles our risk of having depression.

It’s even possible that regular socialising lowers our risk of developing dementia. And just ten minutes of friendly conversation has been found to boost our brain power, helping us to remember things, make decisions and perform better in challenging tasks.

If you missed out on the opportunity to socialise with arts and health professionals at Connect this evening, make sure you join our mailing list (below) to be the first to hear about our next event!