06. Connect – Good relationships make us happier and healthier.

Extending my series “Long live life” with one more article here. connect with someone.

Did you know that lack of social connection is more harmful to health than the majority of common ailments? Some of the studies have proved this. Furthermore, they say that strong social connections improve our immune system. In simple words, living with people around you increases longevity by 50%!! (Living with ‘the right people’ they must mention!)

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The Younger generation has this ‘Solitude is fine!’(How is it!? – God knows only…) attitude today. But, isolation seems to be toxic in the long run. Lonely people are more likely to show a decline in their health than people living a socially connected life during their middle age. This is proven through studies.

But, if we consider a simple logic then we would understand that middle age in any person’s life is kind of a crucial period. Here, one is so much under pressure to set his priorities and to plan for the future simultaneously. A person in his midlife constantly lives in dilemma about whether to choose family over career, if he has to give more time to family, look his children grow, take care of his parents or to focus on work giving it a little more time that might help him earn more.

A person wants to earn more just to give his family a quality life he desires for them, but again the quality time with family is what he’s going to sacrifice just to make it happen!! Irony, isn’t it??

In running this race against time, what a person loses the most is his PEOPLE! You may not agree on this, but can you name a few of your social media connections that you can rely upon? The answer is NO!! This is a general observation that on social media if you’re feeding them with some interesting gossip or controversial stuff then only people show engagement.(Personal/family vacation/trip photographs, Recipes and Shayaris are some other level front-runners!!)Else if you’re not seen for a longer period, no one cares to ask. (Try this if you don’t believe or just think of the people you’ve asked about their well-being in the last couple of days!)

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Here we’re not discussing the fallacy of the social media connections, but the point is when we’ve to depend on or to consider some REAL CONNECTIONS, we have to look at the people around us. Whether we like it or not, however annoying we find them, they are the one who contribute the most in making our life rich (richness doesn’t always mean ‘with money’!). Some give us love, support, care, encouragement, motives, the others might provide us with several infuriating, hurtful experiences that act as lessons. If you deal with such experiences with a bit open mind and a learner’s heart, they gradually can teach you to identify and to protect yourself from the pernicious fellows present in your life.

You can ask me why would one do so? What’s the necessity of facing or dealing with such a detrimental bunch? I’d say, my friend, what exactly do you think life is all about? I believe the strength, courage, conscience and the values we admire in great people are the results of various confrontations most of us try to avoid or escape. So, having real experiences of life is something too different from reading or listening about the same. When we intend to live a real life, we can’t shut the doors on the real people and the real encounters with them!

Now, keeping in view that not everyone we have in our life is as damaging as we assume, here we’re trying to understand how being connected can help us live longer? It is said that social isolation has become the public health risk of our time. Sometimes, it looks like we can’t trust our own relatives or family members blindly. And when we observe or analyse this lack of faith on a large scale, the picture looks quite ugly. This distrust leads towards solitude and finally to the health issues. Studies have proved it too.

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We are talking about living a long and quality life. For this we need to develop some skills. Like we’ll have to trust strangers rationally. Being surrounded by someone or anyone helps us increase social integration. Reacting to people, talking to them enhances ability to handle various situations.

How you interact with known or unknown people and how you respond to favorable or unfavorable conditions add up to our life skills. Results are quite impressive, providing us with wisdom, courage, righteousness, endurance, fighting spirit, kindness, compassion, gratitude, wit, shrewdness and the experiences related to all these virtues are sort of fringe benefits!!

My dear readers might make a point that we all are constantly interacting with each other on various social media. But I’d like to mention here that interacting in person vs social media has a vast difference. Science says that personal eye contact, facial expression and passionate touch release Oxytocin which increases level of trust, lowering the Cortisol levels at the same time. You might have noticed it working like a pain killer.

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Interactions with each other give us the chance to develop and embellish relations. Good relationships make us happier and healthier. People who are more socially connected to family, friends and community are happier thus healthier and so simply live longer. Social connections are good, the experience of loneliness is noxious. People who tend to live in isolation are found less happier, their health declines earlier in midlife, brain functioning declines sooner and all of these bit by bit shortens life!!

It is not necessary to live on an abandoned island to feel the solitude, one can be lonely in a crowd too when you don’t get involved and don’t interact, you’re isolated! Or living in a constant hostile environment also affects your health in the same way. We’re humans and we need someone who can take care of us and who we can look after. A couple of bad experiences must not stop you trusting the others. How many close relations you have never matters, the quality of your relation is important. Good affectionate relationships are good for our health, such attachments protect our brain.

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While dealing with people, there’s no guarantee that our relations are going to be smooth or sorted all the time. Instead it makes certain an occasional hot breeze for the lifetime. If you develop a tendency to get a quick fix for every sour situation, you’ll be living alone on this planet. To keep changing your priorities can help to fix it.

We must not let our mind and heart forget that we’re here to enjoy the time we’ve been permitted. We’re here to learn the things and to have the experiences only meant for us.

We might not make friends with everyone, but we’ll let them touch our lives for once and if we find them helpful in adding up some good days to our lives, we’ll try to let them stay. Speaking to people, communicating without grudges and forgiving others will help us connect more. (Sending friend requests or connects could help very little!:))

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When we spend a day without a heartache having a grin or a smile on our faces, it directly sums up to our longevity!!

May you be blessed with such warmhearted people around you!

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Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Invisible threads are the strongest ties!” Our relationships are just like those invisible threads. We don’t know how a person will influence our life, but when we’re connected to people, we are definitely going to get something that would add up to the experience called LIFE!

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Swati Joshi is an Indian writer who loves to write in English and Indian Languages like Gujarati. Read her Gujarati Poetry and Motivational articles at Swati's Journal.
Swati Joshi

www.swatisjournal.com

1 Comment

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    Scholarly written article….. Congrats.

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