Copy of Lift and Carry Things

A few weeks ago, we published an article about living to 100. I wanted to emphasize the importance of community and relationships discussed in this article. It is obvious to most of us that eating healthy and moving our bodies is important, but most of us don’t think about how important meaningful relationships are to our health.  Did you know that having strong social connections has been linked to motor skill retention, cancer survival, increased immune function, memory preservation, and longevity? Social isolation on the other hand has been linked to increased risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Check out this article for links to the research studies on everything I just mentioned! 

This week- I challenge you to work on your social wellness! We often get so stuck in our daily routines that we don’t take time to reach out to new people around us, or to deepen our relationships with friends and family. 

Here are a few ideas for you to increase your social wellness this week:

1)      Call an friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while just to say hi and see what is going on in their life

2)      Start a weekly dinner with friends or family. Joelle told me recently that her and her husband are planning a Friday night dinner each week and inviting different friends over to join them.

3)      When you are out and about, strike up a conversation with people around you. I know that it is easier to sink into the comfort of your smart phone, but you never know what sorts of interesting people you could meet!

4)      Be more social, and use less social media! Ever seen a group of people out to dinner all sitting there staring at their phones? It happens all the time- try putting it away and connecting!

5)      Join a group. If you are feeling like your social circle needs some beefing up- try joining something you are passionate about to meet like-minded people. This could be a church, a gardening club, a card group, a fitness class, a sports team, or a volunteer group.

6)      Once you join a group- make sure you participate! So many people are “members” of various groups, but only go on occasion. You will form much deeper relationships by interacting with the group more often.

7) Meet someone for a walk! Not only will this get you moving, but if gives you a good opportunity to chat with someone! 

So this week I challenge you to try one or two of the suggestions on the list to improve your “social wellness.” Remember, when it comes to relationships with those around us, it isn’t a contest to see who can have the most relationships, but rather how deep and meaningful those relationships are.

If you have more ideas on what you do to improve your social wellness, I’d love to hear them! Chat with us on our facebook page

-Dr. Jamie Thomure