Week 42 of our #HealthyHabits2017 Challenge has been to share the love. Our relationships with other people are one of the most important things that contribute to our mental wellbeing so it's really important that we cultivate these and make sure we have strong bonds with others. By sharing the love this week, we've reminded people in our lives why we're grateful for them being there, reminded them how awesome they are and said things that don't often get said.
Human beings are social animals, so for us relationships help build a sense of belonging and self worth. With our close relationships we are able to express our emotions and feel understood. These are places where we can share positive experiences, and give and receive emotional support. This really helps in time of stress when you have support offered by a caring friend. And stress can have a huge negative impact on your health in relation to high blood pressure, heart disease and a few other ailments.
Relationships outweigh all other conditions in importance to our happiness. Good relationships with other people make us happy and like a feedback loop, happier people benefit from more valuable relationships than unhappy people.
'Even the most hard headed social scientists are now coming to understand that time and effort invested in social relationships is time and effort well invested. Social relationships help us to heal when we are sick; they give us information about the world; they help us solve practical and material problems; and they make us feel grounded and secure.' - Daniel Nettle
Our relationships with others help us to live longer. People with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. Also researchers have found that marriages and commitment to a partner for life can add three years to your life expectancy, interestingly men's life expectancy benefits more from this than women's.
Having strong relationships can contribute to our health at any age. Older people with strong relationships are less likely to suffer poor health. Even college and university students who have strong friendships and relationships are half as likely to catch a cold than people who are more isolated. And with Autumn here, what better a time than now for us to go and boost our relationships and show some gratitude.
HOW DID IT GO?
I spent each day of this week writing a little note to different friends. Even if I didn't get to connect to them too much outside of the internet, it still felt really good to make them feel good. It feels nice to be thought about by someone else. I loved having this task, as we often might feel things for people in our lives but we might not always tell them. This week was a nice way to remind those people why they're important, and I think it's something that should be done more often for certain. We might all feel a little bit more loved if we did this every once and a while.
As in the words of Christopher Mccandles. Happiness is only real when shared.