It’s the season of celebrating the friends, neighbors, and family that surround you. Why are those connections so vital, and how important is it to seek out love and friendship? Explore the science behind relationships and ways to gain and deepen connections.
Relationships and the Good Life
The correlation of quality relationships to mind and health improvement is an idea Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist and current Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, has a mission to spread. The primary find of his 75+ year long study of over 700 men according to Waldinger?
“good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”– Robert Waldinger, TEDx Beacon Street, 2015
According to the study, regardless of income level or social status, it was the quality and satisfaction level of relationships that correlated to happiness. The study, which also regularly recorded brain scans and doctors’ examinations of all those studied, found how satisfied participants were in relationships predicted how they were going to grow old and not, as one might expect, cholesterol numbers from midlife.
“…good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.”– Robert Waldinger, TEDx Beacon Street, 2015
It was also found that the memories of those satisfied with their relationships were preserved far longer than those who felt their spouses and community did not support them. Being socially connected was shown to help participants stay healthier both mentally and physically and to live longer while the feeling of loneliness has a negative effect on all of these aspects.
Relationships in Action
Whether you are already content with your relationships or feel the need to get connected and meet new friends, it’s always the perfect time to find ways to deepen relationships and enjoy the health benefits of a connected life. How can you do this?
You may have an entire group of friends or just a few close companions, yet maintaining relationships over the years can be as difficult as moves, life events, and new aspects of lifestyles come into play. How does connecting with friends fit into your lifestyle? If you feel it’s time to spark new life into them, consider trying one of these four things to help you rekindle an old friendship or jump start a new one:
1- Make the time
Fully retired or part time, more and more friends are deciding to structure their new lives around time for friends. Try weekly coffee dates, monthly get-togethers, or going for a walk every other day.
2- Do something spontaneous
Bond with one or more friends by sharing a new experience. In Lawrence choose from many museums, cooking classes, and festivals to choose. To shake up a regular meet-up, consider looking into a new location for coffee or a meal together.
3- Shorten the distance
Have a long distance friend? A once-a-week phone call will keep you in the loop, and video calls using Skype open up the possibility of playing card games or sharing life events no matter the distance.
4- Cut each other some slack
It’s no secret that maintaining friendships over the years can be difficult. Be understanding if friends loses touch, and ask them to understand if life changes cause you to disconnect for a time. Whether it’s a one time call to touch base or resuming scheduled coffee dates, reaching out to talk after a disconnect is a good way to maintain friendships.
Connect with the world around you and meet friends of all ages by volunteering, joining a club, or taking a class. Find a new passion or follow an old one that surrounds you with people interested in the same things you are.
Sparking a new flame – or reigniting an old one!
Falling in love can be harder as you get older. Most people know what they like and want a very meaningful relationship, setting the standard high. For those in a long-term relationship, fanning the flame could involve adventures like taking in a play, attending a music festival, or road trip explorations. For those looking for or fostering new romantic relationships, it may be important to find ways to let go of negative past experiences, gain support from family and friends, and have renewed faith that love can be found.
Source : http://livelawrencelife.com/2017/01/31/why-life-is-better-with-strong-relationships/
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