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When it comes to life vitality, have you stopped to consider how important your love and connections might be for you? What if your physician simply prescribed the following: “Immerse yourself in a community filled with people you love. Consistently strive for new friendships, while maintaining your old friendships. Never neglect time for family and others that love you.”
Recent studies say it may be that simple and straightforward! Loving connectivity with friends and family strongly correlates with longevity. Good relationships create meaningful lives. When older people commit to active lifestyles with other adults, they tend to easily make new friendships. A retired minister, Richard Watts, was quoted saying, “We never outlive our need or capacity to be useful,” and his words ring true as we continue to understand that relationships are essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. We are happier and live longer when we feel valued. We are social beings who enjoy physical and emotional benefits from interactions with people.
We’ve all heard that healthy lifestyle habits improve our health, but loneliness, on the other hand, has the potential to create depression and mental illness. Healthy interactions with others are imperative or our bodies will deteriorate. Loneliness can manifest inflammation, which makes us feel sick. Unfortunately, once this happens, the inflammation then provides a reason to socially withdrawal. Loneliness compromises health by making us feel ill, which results in further isolation from our friends and community.
Alternately, quality relationships can build our immunity. They can help us contract fewer colds, flu and chronic illness. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease can be reduced, too. It’s obvious that personal connections are the antidote to many illnesses. In fact, whether we are a loving caregiver or the recipient of loving care, our bodies can benefit. In either case, loving relationships reduce stress and inflammation.
Feelings of well-being increase when we surround ourselves by others, and we even take better care of ourselves, too. When we have events to look forward to on the calendar, it creates an optimistic future outlook and when we surround ourselves with active friends, we are that much more active, as well. We create healthier habits and lifestyle changes when we’re connected with other active people. It also promotes a sense of life purpose which brings a positive and bright outlook that leads to better brain health.
Quality relationships are good for us, and studies show that we reap benefits from social interaction. Conversing with other people can keep us sharp and thinking clearly. We tend to use additional brain power when we have conversations with others. Conversations challenge us to remember past details and learn new things, too.