Researchers recently found that a 10-minute daily conversation has about the same positive effect on the brain as doing a crossword. The study suggested that the complex interactions during a conversation, such as listening, understanding, inferring, staying on topic, and adapting to new points of view, are like a mini-workout for the brain and help to keep it fit. As part of the research, scientists also found that the incidence of Alzheimer’s was lower in people characterized as actively social and higher in people who reported feeling lonely.

“Sometimes people think socializing is a waste of time or they have more important things to do,” says lead researcher Oscar Ybarra, PhD. “But socializing is something that is enjoyable, can keep you sharper mentally, and has a variety of other benefits including feeling better overall.”