G.R.E.A.T. D.R.E.A.M – Relating
Following on from my last post on the first of the 10 Keys for Happiness series which you can read here, the second key is all about our relationships with the people in our lives including friends, family, colleagues and partners.
By nature we are social creatures and need social interaction to thrive. Research shows that good relationships not only make us feel supported and loved, but bring a sense of meaning and increase our feelings of self-worth. It also shows that healthy social interactions have a profound effect on our physiological health by helping to reduce risk of major health risks such as heart disease, depression and anxiety.
Lifeline cites loneliness as “a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you”. Take a moment to consider that loneliness and feeling socially disconnected can affect your sleep, appetite, energy levels, induce more frequent or more intense headaches, lower your immunity and even cause weight loss or gain (lifeline.org.au).
Having people in our lives means so much more to us than we realise but life is so busy for most people and all too often work takes precedence over our social lives. However, making time to nurture the relationships in our lives is crucial to health and experts agree that close, supportive, healthy relationships with others are vital for optimising health.
Relating to others makes us feel happy and when we’re feeling happy, we want to spend more time with the people who make us feel good about ourselves and life in general. A beautiful, perfect, self-perpetuating cycle easily set in motion by making the people in our lives a priority.
Key characteristics of a healthy relationships include feeling respected and supported, having the freedom to speak honestly and without judgment, being able to experience joy from shared experiences and simply, just to feel the connection.
So take a moment to think about the people in your life, are you connected? If you are then no doubt you can relate to the many benefits of RELATING to others. If your connections are mainly of the Facebook kind then I say what better time than to transition those cyber connections to real-time catch-ups. How about coffee or brunch this weekend at your local Nutrition Station café? It’s where I can be found on many occasions laughing into my cappuccino with a friend, my self-perpetuating cycle whirring away like a hamster on a wheel!
Until then, always remember, true wealth is your own health.