On one hand, it’s difficult to write about social connection when I have heard, and said the term, “social distancing” no less than a million times in the past few months.
Conversely, it’s probably one of the most important things I can write about in a time we remain 6 feet apart and have to wave to friends and family from the street or outside of their window. In a previous article, Midlife Meltdown, I touched on the importance of relationships and connection for women going through perimenopause and menopause. As we all try to navigate a global pandemic, I realize the significance of this for everyone, at every stage in their lives.
The Best Medicine — No Pills Needed
How do strong ties with family and friends affect your health?
Think about the last time you talked to a family member or friend. Maybe you shared a laugh, or something that was weighing on your heart and mind. Maybe they offered some advice, or just a listening ear.
Remember how you felt afterward? Lighter, happier, more energetic or loved?
I bet you felt less alone and more supported. And maybe you reciprocated, and they laughed and felt happier as well.
The best news is that these feelings aren’t a quick pick me up that has no lasting effect. The release of the “happy hormones”, like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin have a plethora of health benefits. If you aren’t familiar with them, a quick google will bring up plenty of science-based evidence that our bodies have intuition that tell us far more if we are willing to listen.
A great two for one deal
Research (Per Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School) has identified a range of activities that qualify as social support: from offers of help or advice to expressions of affection. Evidence also suggests that the life-enhancing effects of social support extend to the giver as well as the receiver. Now that is a great two for one deal! And speaking of deal, it’s pretty cool that you can have a great conversation with someone that improves your health and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Benefits of social interaction
- Stronger immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased risk of obesity
- Decreased risk of inflammation
- Decreased risk of dementia/Increased mental sharpness
At the end of the day, we are all looking for love, safety and belonging. Knowing we are supported, cared for and understood not only strengthens our mental, but our physical health as well. It’s all connected, WE are all connected.
“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others” – Tom Ford
Jennifer Viverette is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach. A Lincoln County resident since 2008, who loves the tight knit community. Married for 21 years, with 3 cool kids, she loves to run, hike and read. After spending over 20 years in Human Resources, Jennifer now enjoys helping people reach their goals in a different capacity. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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