Change Your Social Life
Sunday, November 01, 2015
Philadelphia resident Daniel Bresler-Nowak followed the same routine for years. “My day consisted of sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for eight hours with minimal interaction with other people,” he says. “By the time I got home every night, I was too tired to want to do anything except watch TV. I could see my overall health declining.”
The lifestyle Bresler-Nowak describes has become the norm for many, with more Americans identifying themselves as isolated and even lonely. Undoubtedly this type of lifestyle has far-reaching implications.
One headlining study by Brigham Young University professors Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith says our social relationships are on the “short list” of factors that predict a person's odds of living or dying. Significant social connections—friends, family, neighbors or colleagues—reportedly improve our odds of survival by 50 percent.
Holt-Lunstad describes several ways our relationships can influence our health:
A. Behaviors: Our relationships encourage us to eat healthy, get exercise, get more sleep, see a doctor, etc. Relationships also have a direct influence on physiological processes linked to health, including lower blood pressure and better immune functioning.
B. Stress Regulation: Relationships help us because friends give advice, do favors, and help us out in a bind—all of which can alleviate some of the negative health consequences of stress.
C. Life Purpose: Our relationships also provide a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives, which in turn is associated with better self-care and less risk taking.
Whether your routine doesn't leave much room for socializing or you simply don't feel like making the effort, these strategies could provide the boost you need to improve this important part of life:
Reconnect with old friends. Start with your existing social circle and expand from there. These connections often take less time to establish than new relationships.
Focus on listening. Fight the urge to respond immediately, and really listen to what the other person is trying to communicate. Dale Carnegie once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people that you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Connect to a community. If you don't have close family and friends, strong ties to your community or a church can have similarly positive effects.
Be patient. Remember, improving your social skills and status is a process and cannot be accomplished overnight. For Bresler-Nowak a new career was the catalyst to a healthier life-stye, social and otherwise. It took years of planning and additional schooling, but as Bresler-Nowak says, “working in a career field that I care deeply about and that provides a sense of satisfaction has given me a deep sense of meaning that is invaluable on a day-to-day basis.”
Article Courtesy of Vibrant Life.
Vibrant Life is a health magazine we encourage you to check out. They share Christ's ministry by meeting people where they are and by providing information and encouragement that will help them live abundantly. To learn more about vibrant life visit VibrantLife.com.