Researching social support connections as a valuable tool for living a healthy life can help reduce stress and loneliness. Phone calls are just one form of social support, but there’s evidence that it’s effective. For example, a study published in the journal Heart Failure Magazine in December 2022 found that phone calls from nurses can improve survival for patients with heart failure.
However, what one study author found particularly surprising about this finding was that sicker patients actually benefited the most from the calls. Overall, they spent more days getting out of the hospital and alive. “We would expect the sickest, oldest, and least sick patients to receive no additional benefit from this service, but,” says Ilan Kedan, MD, cardiologist at Cedars. We found that the sicker you are, the more you get out of this.” -Sinai and study co-authors. “I think looking at what it means to be in contact with someone on the phone…how valuable and powerful that can be.”
“I think looking at what it means to be in contact with someone on the phone…how valuable and powerful that can be.” —Ilan Kedan, MD
That’s just one example (and a concrete and extreme example of that) of the potential health benefits of phone calls. In fact, almost everyone experiences the positive effects of connection. Check them out below—and then, the next time you find yourself about to text, consider dialing instead of live chat.
4 health benefits of phone calls to know
1. Loneliness rate is lower
As mentioned, social support is a tool to help alleviate loneliness, and phone calls are an effective way to provide that support. Phone calls facilitate immaterial social interaction and contribute to social support networks, which turn out to be crucial for living longer and healthier lives.
Reaching out to social support networks is an important way to combat and prevent loneliness, a risk factor for many diseases. A small study published in the journal Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2021 found that loneliness, depression, anxiety and general morale improved in a group of 240 at-risk older adults who received calls via Meals on Wheels in a four-week program in 2020.
2. Improve your mood and reduce stress
Because they are a means to stay connected and facilitate conversation, it makes sense that phone calls can contribute to mood and stress reduction. A recent study found that just one quality conversation improved participants’ mood and reduced stress levels at the end of the day. That conversation can happen on the phone.
3. Communicate more clearly and with less confusion
Phone calls promote clear communication, which is beneficial in our relationships. Communicating our needs in all of our relationships strengthens them, and talking on the phone can help because hearing the inflections and intonations in someone’s voice can help. levels of context and nuance can help explain their meaning. (Texting, on the other hand, often creates an opportunity for such interpretation, making it harder to determine someone’s tone and intentions.) “It personifies the other person you’re reaching out to and takes out a lot of the guesswork…there’s less than we have to do,” Alexandra Cromer, LPC, therapist at Thriveworks, said of the phone calls.
Science Backs It Up: A Study Published in the Journal Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2021 sought to assess whether different types of media provide the same level of benefit. Participants were asked to connect with someone by phone, video, or by text-based communication. Those whose connections included verbal communication, such as phone and video calls, reported stronger social ties and no increased awkwardness than those who communicated via text.
4. More ways to have sex and build intimacy
According to therapist and sexologist Joy Berkheimer, PhD, LMFT, voice is one tool you can use to spark your partner’s fantasies and desires, and a phone call opens up possibilities. use it, even if you are not close to each other. . (There’s a reason why some dating apps have added voice messaging features and why pornographic stories and apps are so popular.) “Sexy and erotic. Ours is about our senses and we want our senses to be aroused in a different way,” says Dr. Berkheimer. “For me, someone’s voice can transport you.”
Picking up the phone to tell your partner a compelling story or tell them your fantasies is a great way to incorporate this other avenue of pleasure into your routine.