We’ve all heard the research that says healthy relationships help support quality of life. But what are some of the specifics? Here are my favorite bonuses that come from meaningful interaction with people:
Staving off the often unrecognized devastating health effects of loneliness.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, social-connectedness expert and researcher at Brigham Young University, says not having healthy relationships is roughly equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and twice as harmful as obesity. (www.apa.org/members/content/holt-lunstad-loneliness-social-connections)
Help in becoming the person you want to be.
A loving partner who sees you more like the person you want to be helps you become that person. Just as parents envision their children growing up to be strong and capable adults, an extrapolation that in fact helps their children do just that, people who believe we are great help us ultimately do greater things. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10474210)
A Sense of being a Part of Something Larger than Self.
Relationships help us realize the collective power of humanity—no small thing. Being a part of a partnership, community, or any successful group effort affirms our need to contribute to greater and deeper meaning than we can achieve alone. (www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-name-love/201403/why-we-all-need-belong-someone)
The big takeaway? We need each other! Prioritizing social interaction isn’t an indulgence. Date nights with a partner or going to book club or your bowling league run alongside annual doctor visits and physical exercise in terms of keeping your health on track. So enjoy each other and prosper.