Life Lesson #3 Good Relationships Keep Us Healthy
#3 in the series- Life Lessons
None of us is an island!
We need others and other people need us. In fact good interpersonal relationships are vital to our health and happiness. There have been numerous studies conducted that show there is a link between strong relationships and physical and mental health and even increased longevity.
Many of us focus on eating a proper diet and getting plenty of exercise but then end up neglecting our need for substantial social connections. I want to emphasize “substantial” here because when it comes to the benefits of our relationships, it isn’t about quantity but quality. Ironically as humans we are wired to be social creatures, so why do we sometimes avoid or ignore those deeper connections?
Are you prioritizing your career over those you love?
Are you working at such a frenzied pace that you have little or no time for those you love? When someone asks you how you've been is your one word answer "busy"? Maybe you need to stop and ask yourself "Am I getting self-absorbed or out of balance?" Then make more time to show your friends and family that you value them. Actually call or go see someone. Your time is the best gift you can give to those you care about.
Are you letting social media platforms or pets become your main social Interactions?
Pets can be fantastic companions and social media can connect us to people that we can't see regularly, but neither is a substitute for deep meaningful conversations or physical interactions. Make a real effort to get together with friends or family, or chat with a neighbor. You can be the initiator. Why not arrange time to hang out with your people? Some of them are lonely too. Research shows as many as 36% of Americans say they are lonely. You could reach out and be the bright spot in someone's day! And texts are not as good as calls or video chats.
Are you isolating yourself because of personal problems?
One of the most tragic mistakes we make is avoiding social contact because our life seems to be in a crappy place. We try carrying our heavy burdens alone, stoically trudging along, pretending we're fine.
It's okay to be strong and carry the small everyday challenges, but when life gets too hard and our burden is heavy, we need to let go of pride and let someone in our tribe/circle help us.
But we can't expect our friends and family to be mind readers. We need to be real and vulnerable sometimes with the people we can trust. They won't see us as weak. They will be glad we could depend on them for help.
Keep an open mind. Sometimes the person or people who are there for you weren't the ones you expected. Maybe like us, a lot of your family is spread out in other states. It's not what we wished for, but we do all we can to keep meaningful relationships from afar, then we focus on and appreciate all the other wonderful people who are nearby.
For a very interesting study, check out this Ted Talk