“We never outlive our need or capacity to be useful.”
When it comes to long life, happiness and vitality, have you considered how important love and connection might be? Imagine if a physician prescribed this: “Keep immersed in a community filled with people you love by continuously making new friendships, while maintaining old friendships, too. Remember to always make time for family and others whom you love.”
Research shows it may be that simple and straightforward! Connectivity with friends and family correlates with longevity. Yes, it is our good relationships that create a meaningful life. Older people who commit to staying active with other adults tend to make new friendships more easily and feel valued. Retired minister, Richard Watts, is quoted saying, “We never outlive our need or capacity to be useful,” and his words hold true as we understand that relationships are essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. Happiness and longer lives are the results of loving and being loved. We are social beings who benefit greatly from interactions with a variety of people.
Loneliness Can’t Be Good
We all know that healthy lifestyle habits are better for our health, yet loneliness can potentially reduce us to depression and mental illness. We need interaction with others or our bodies will begin to deteriorate. Loneliness can create inflammation, which makes us feel sick, thereby providing reasons for withdrawing socially. Loneliness, in fact, compromises our health by creating feelings of sickness, which in turn, extends isolation from friends and the community.
Alternately, quality relationships build immunity and help us to contract fewer colds, flu and chronic illness. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are reduced, by connections to others, too. It’s apparent that our personal connections are the antidote to numerous illnesses. It’s interesting to note that whether we are a loving caregiver or the recipient of loving care, our bodies benefit. In either case, a loving relationship may reduce stress and inflammation.
Social Activity and Wellbeing
We increase our wellbeing when we’re consistently surrounded by others and we may take better care of ourselves, too. When we have things on the calendar that we’re looking forward to, we have a better outlook of the future. When our friends are more active, we are more active, too. Healthier lifestyle behaviors lead to healthier habits when we’re connected with other active people. Feeling a sense of life purpose brings a positive and bright outlook, too, which also brings protection for our brain health.
The Brain and Social Interaction
Close relationships are just plain good for us, as studies show the benefits of social interaction and how conversing with other people keeps us thinking more clearly. We use more brain power interacting with others, creating the challenge of remembering past details and understanding new things, too.