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The Importance of Friendships for Our Wellness

Here at Acacia Creek, we focus on four components of wellness; physical, intellectual, peace & fulfillment and social. Each area is equally important in maintaining overall wellness and our successful aging journey. It is social wellness that helps us learn and navigate our world throughout our lives. We learn healthy habits from those in our social circles as well as how to give and receive support. We are social beings and have an inherent desire to connect and to be part of something larger—a club, family, or community. By building and maintaining healthy relationships with others, we can improve our health and well-being.

Social connections are the foundation of our Acacia Creek community. Our social ties have never supported us more than they did through the pandemic. Having people in our community that are there for us to share our joys and sorrows gives us a sense of security and belonging. Our support system helps us to process the stresses of life. Having a healthy way to deal with stress prevents our bodies from releasing as many stress hormones which could compromise our immune system and eventually contribute to stroke, heart disease and cancer. Also, having people we can laugh and cry with makes life more meaningful and enjoyable.

Friends and family and other forms of social support can provide the support and encouragement we need to try and learn new things. With each success, we develop more confidence to keep doing new and challenging things with our lives. We can do this at every age. Additionally, being in social situations and relationships requires our brains to stay sharp, engage in dynamic conversational exchanges, and remember dates with friends, etc.

We can strengthen our social relationships by showing appreciation for the people in our lives and the things they do to support us. When someone does something nice for you—no matter the gesture—make the effort to share thanks and really mean it. We strengthen the bonds of our social relationships by noticing the little things people say and do and give them sincere compliments. When we show more appreciation, we create positive outlooks for the people in our lives, instead of where they fall short of our expectations. In other words, the more we voice our appreciation, the more good feelings we generate for ourselves.

When it comes to healthy social relationships it’s the quality, not the quantity. The more time we spend connecting with people we enjoy, the happier we are. Nurture the relationships that provide you with understanding, support and validation by expressing your appreciation. Remember to utilize your support system by asking for help when you need it; people naturally want to be helpful and support us in overcoming life’s obstacles. We all need a good support system at different points in our lives. When you are there for your people, they will be there for you.

Penny Vittoria
Successful Aging Coach

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