Who are your influencers? Who in your life has the power to affect your health, your mood, your habits and the way you see the world?
The answer is: everyone. Our family, our friends, our communities — everyone in our life has the ability to enhance our state of mind and being! And while we’re born into family, we have a choice when it comes to the rest, those we call friends and the communities we connect with.
According to psychology professor Arthur Aron, PhD, director of the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at New York’s Stony Brook University: “Relationships are — not surprisingly — enormously important for health, and there are lots of studies on the biological processes that account for the link between relationships and health.” (source)
As I’ve gotten older I’ve placed a greater importance on relationships. I seek out communities that offer support and a shared perspective (or experience), and friendships that challenge me, inspire me, and bring joy and fulfillment. And though my closest friends live all around the globe I am a happier, healthier person with them in my life. The simplest text can brighten my day!
A 2009 article in the New York Times called What Are Friends For? A Longer Life addresses the impact positive relationships have on our health. It even goes so far as to say positive relationships “could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life.”
But relationships don’t just happen overnight; they take time, energy, and a little love. The good ones will be there through the ups and downs, but I find that my closest friends know a little attention and thoughtfulness goes a long way.
If you’re looking to strengthen relationships in your life this holiday season, here are 5 simple tips from theInstitute for Integrative Nutrition:
Whether in person, through an email, over Skype, or a good old-fashioned phone call, reach out to the people you love, even if it’s just to tell them, “I love you!” A little communication goes a long way in nurturing relationships.
‘Tis the season for giving, and it’s fun to get personal and creative. Give a family member or friend the night off by offering to babysit her kids, or make a batch of seasonal healthy treats to share with co-workers.
Meet at your favorite local restaurant, or invite friends and family over for a homemade meal. To keep preparations stress-free, suggest a potluck dinner and everyone can contribute a dish.
Visit a museum, meet for a walk, or decorate for the holidays together. If you’re feeling really festive, plan an ornament exchan
ge or a holiday cookie swap with a group of friends.
Don’t forget about the most important relationship – the one with yourself! Taking care of your own needs, including a spiritual practice and regular exercise, allows you the freedom to love others to the best of your ability.
When we pave the way for positive relationships we can be sure our health will benefit as much as our mood.
And if you’re looking for a supportive, compassionate community, join us at Lyfebulb. Our community is passionate about helping people with chronic disease improve their quality of life NOW. We’d love to see you at one of our regular meet-ups or hear from you on our message board. Let us influence one another!