We may enjoy some healthy solitude and the occasional solo trip is good for the soul. Perpetual loneliness, on the other hand, is far from the kind of life anyone hopes to lead. Just like we need good food and sleep, our bodies and minds need good company. So much so that not spending quality time with the people we love can be detrimental to our health.
The social distancing regulations during the pandemic have taught us to appreciate our closest bonds more than ever. For seniors, however, this time has proven to be especially challenging, since most have been separated from their families and with little to no chance to socialize in order to prevent a potential viral infection. All precautions aside, building relationships, even at a distance, is unequivocally beneficial – here’s why as well as how you can strengthen those bonds over time despite any challenges.
Lowering stress and anxiety
Annoyances are everywhere. Whether you have to wait in line for hours, or someone’s being rude in the street, stress and anxiety triggers are all around us. That’s why we need all kinds of creative stress-busting methods in our lives to stay healthy and sane. Spending quality time with people you love is a particularly effective way to reduce stress and become more resilient to it over time.
Even in isolation and unable to meet people in person, you can easily schedule a video call, and share a cup of coffee remotely. Thanks to technology, we can connect with the help of social media, chat platforms, and video software, as well. It might not be ideal, but it helps build relationships and allows us to stay close even when we’re far.
A better immune system
Reducing stress is a potent enough mechanism that helps us stay healthier overall. Chronic stress is often linked to other chronic conditions such as inflammation, cardiovascular issues, anxiety, depression, and the like. Warding these conditions off means giving your immune system the break it needs to recover and grow stronger.
As you grow older, that becomes more crucial than ever, since a robust immune system is the key to leading an action-filled, purposeful life. As it turns out, social encounters rich in meaningful conversations, strong emotional bonds, and regular social meetings all contribute to our resilience.
A longer, healthier life
Studies exploring human connections are increasingly showing that people who are happily married and those with strong social bonds are much more likely to live longer. Not that longevity is the only reason to spend time with those we love, but add to that, the quality of life among people with good relationships is also much higher.
Since it gets more challenging to make new connections as we age, people can overcome the issue by joining an online community for mature adults that helps them make connections in their silver years. An online platform of that nature helps seniors meet people safely and expand those relationships into in-person encounters when they feel comfortable to do so.
Happy hormones overflowing
Happiness might be an elusive, multilayered concept that differs for everybody. On a biochemical level, however, happiness is very measurable, or at least parts of it that we understand so far. Our brain chemicals, our hormones, define partially how happy we feel. When we share affection with a friend or even our furry companions, we experience a surge of dopamine and serotonin, two of several notable happy chemicals.
When you’re happy on a chemical level, you’re also more energized to take action and do the things you love, such as walking, working out, all of which perpetuates the happy hormone cycle. Being affectionate with someone we love has that effect on us, so sharing kind words or hugging people we care about have a momentary and a lasting impact on our lives.
Lower blood pressure
Due to overwhelming stress, as well as genetics, so many people struggle with cardiovascular health issues, one of the most common being high blood pressure. By helping your body reduce the levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, and by enticing your body to produce happy hormones, relationships have a major impact on regulating your blood pressure, especially for the long haul.
When you’re working on your social life and sharing activities with people you care about, you’re also much more likely to be active. You can go hiking, especially when indoor gatherings aren’t the best option, and you can share a challenge such as jogging, taking up an online workout class, and the like. All of that contributes to your healthier lifestyle and lowers your blood pressure.
Loving relationships and ongoing emotional support that come from those bonds help us find meaning in our existence. When we’re surrounded by people who recognize our qualities and cherish the time they spend with us, we’re also much more likely to take better care of ourselves. Working on those relationships might be more challenging today, but with the right tools and creative ideas, we can keep those bonds strong and use them to imbue our lives with value.