A 12-Minute Phone Call A Day Can Keep The Doctor Away. Here's How

Let’s be real, no one likes phone calls anymore. If there is a way to get something done over text, people will make it happen. 

But as it turns out, making a 12 minute phone call every day to your loved ones is just as important as getting your 5-a-day and can be credited with reducing both stress levels and boosting connectivity (depending on who you speak to, we assume).

At least according to behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, who in collaboration with Tesco Mobile working the Trussell Trust, has been working to raise awareness on the importance of connectivity.

“It may even be as important as your daily intake of fruit and veg. Everybody has become so used to remembering their 5-a-day, now we really should be considering the ’12-a-day’ of minutes we need to spend speaking to loved ones,” says Hemmings.

But why 12 minutes?

Well, the simple reason, according to Hemmings, is that it is the optimum amount of time for those daily calls. Not too long that you run out of things to say, not too short that you are unable to properly chat and check in.

Some of us might be lone wolves who like their own personal space and time and may not want to check in everyday, but Hemmings stresses that it is very important to stay connected to your loved ones.

“Without connectivity we have little to relate to in our lives and this can lead to a lack of purpose. Humans are built to share stories and information, so if you find that you have no one to share those with – or hear from others – it can make us feel insular, isolated and that we don’t really matter to others,” says Hemmings.

“Most of us like to feel valued and that we also have something to offer to others’ lives – especially our loved ones – connectivity helps us maintain that feeling,” she adds.

This is not just a ploy to get you to call your mom who you haven’t spoken to in a week. There is a scientific reasoning behind this.

According to Hemmings, when you are on a call with the people you care about, many hormonal changes happen in your body.

“It increases our levels of oxytocin, which is our bonding hormone, so it strengthens our emotional attachments. It also gives us a spike in our serotonin levels, that natural feel-good chemical which helps regulate our mood in a positive way, making us feel less stressed, happier and more emotionally stable,” she says.

Checking in with your friends and family can also help ward off any sense of loneliness or isolation and help you feel like you belong.

In fact, not maintaining that connection can have quite a negative effect on our wellbeing.

“The less we stay connected with loved ones, the greater the emotional gulf seems to be. Not having regular conversations means that you may only discuss less significant aspects of your lives – just the headlines if you like – and never really get to experience how someone is actually feeling. It creates an emotional distance that can be difficult to repair,” explains Hemmings.

Well, I guess it’s time to call our parents.