Connections and Contributions

June 3, 2009

Maintaining social connections certainly helps to keep us youthful. Being surrounded by good friends and family is known to increase the length and quality of one’s life. In fact, research shows that nurturing our bonds with others can endow as many physical benefits as being a nonsmoker, with the extra perks of keeping your brain sharp and your outlook rosy. Of course one of the sad realities of growing older is that you often outlive those around you but there are ways of keeping in touch.

1. Lend a helping hand.

Several dozen studies have shown that people who devote time to community efforts are happier and healthier in their later years. Think of it as a helping you is a helping me approach. You make friends and create a social circle while reaping the psychological benefit of feeling useful and needed.

2. Maintain a sense of community.

Ensure that every member in the community from youngest to oldest feels equally valued. Living in a community helps but you can also create your own community. Join or start social clubs such as book clubs, theatre groups, or golf circles. Start with your local library or Senior’s Centre. They are a great source for what is going on in your neck of the woods. It really does take a village.

3. Be Spiritual.

Study after study indicates that those who attend some type of place of worship are happier and healthier than their atheist counterparts. There are also universal organizations like Unitarians and Humanists that provide a less theistic view of religion.

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