Zoom family meeting

The Importance of Developing and Nurturing Relationships

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust

For almost a year, we have been wearing masks, limiting travel, and socially isolating due to this COVID pandemic

It is interesting how many things, both great and small; we had come to take for granted. At this very moment, my wife is in the kitchen watching the Zoom funeral for the mother of one of her close friends. We all have a new appreciation for the freedoms that we have relinquished during this last year. Simple hugs may be at the top of your list.

In his November email article Calm, Certainty, and Community, Rick stressed the importance of finding community during these times to improve your emotional and physical health. I would like to expand on his thoughts by considering the importance of developing and nurturing relationships.

A review of 148 psychosocial studies found that people with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. There is a large body of research indicating that strong relationships contribute to health at any age. The National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper, Comparing the Happiness Effects of Real and On-line Friends, where they found that doubling your group of real-life friends had the same effect on your well-being as a 50% increase in income.

The lack of adequate social support has been linked to a number of adverse health consequences:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased immune function
  • Multiple problems with physical and emotional health

As challenging as it may seem during a pandemic, right now is an excellent time to intentionally build, grow, and improve your relationships. Here is a list of relationships to consider:

  • Family
  • Partners
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Colleagues
  • Peers
  • Mentors
  • Yourself

While you may not usually think about working on your relationship with yourself, science has shown there are many benefits from improving your self-esteem:

  • Better stress management
  • Better sleep
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Improved heart health
  • Greater happiness
  • Longer life

Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT has written a helpful article titled 7 Ways to Cultivate Self-Love. This might help you consider ways to improve your relationship with yourself.

Additionally, as you consider focusing on improving and developing relationships here is a good collection of quotes about relationships.

As always, we are here for you. Please email or call if you want to set up a Zoom videoconference meeting or talk by phone.

Ralph Broadwater, M.D., CFP®, AIF®

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