Your Health Bubble: The Value of Relationships
Last week, we discussed a new study that found a correlation between spouses and each other’s health. If one spouse exercised, the other was more likely to do the same. This research reinforced an idea that I wrote about in Stop. Challenge. Choose. Your health bubble, the people you surround yourself with, can have an impact on your journey toward Optimal Health.
When we talk about Optimal Health, we are talking about more than diet and exercise. Optimal Health encompasses every area of your life with each choice rippling into other aspects of your wellbeing. The interplay of your habits is complex, but I have summarized it into three key areas: Physical Health, Mental Health, and Financial Health.
With our society’s hyper-focus on looks, we can easily overlook the importance of other critical habits. They may not be as visible as something like obesity, but they matter just the same.
Researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT reviewed data from 70 studies dating back to 1980. This meta-analysis found that loneliness and social isolation has an effect “comparable to obesity” in terms of health consequences. We already know that social connections play a critical role in health, but this analysis is the first to go as far as to explore the potential link between social isolation, loneliness, and mortality.
We are more connected than ever, but having Facebook does not mean that we have healthy, vibrant relationships with our friends and family. We could have thousands of followers. We could post updates and photos dozens of times a day. And we could still be alone.
To build stronger, more meaningful relationships, try the following:
- Turn off your cellphone. When you are out with friends or family, make a pact to put your phones so that you can eliminate the interruption of texts and status updates. Conversation is better that way.
- Make social time a part of your routine. Spending time with your friends and family should not be reserved for special occasions. Set aside regular time to be with the ones that you care about.
- Surround yourself with likeminded people. Connect with others in the Optimal Health Community for healthy happy hour meet-ups or join a fitness group, like a yoga class, spin class, or walking group.
- Be spontaneous. If you have free moments to spare, reach out to a friend—new or old—just to say hello and to see how they are. Reaching out to make a connection could make you a force for good in someone else’s life.
Optimal Health is a journey, yes, but it’s not a journey that we take alone. Health is a gift to be shared. Forging bonds with special people and enjoying the time we have with them is one of the richest rewards that life has to offer.
Start working on your health bubble today.