The evidence that humans are social creatures is comprehensive and undeniable. Reciprocal relationships are an essential aspect of wellness for human beings.
Paying closer attention to acquaintanceships, friendships, and kinships can help people to improve their health, success, and prosperity.
It is through our relating with other human beings that we grow and evolve – and how we deepen and expand our experience of love and meaning.
Marianne Williamson once famously stated, “when you get serious about The Universe, The Universe gets serious about you.” Among the most effective ways to show The Universe that you are serious about life, is by spending a little extra time and energy on the connections you have with particular people in your life.
The ultimate social experiment is to try to examine one’s own relationships with fresh eyes. It sounds easy, but, in reality, cultivating new relationships – and deepening existing ones – requires conscious effort and a strategy.
What you need to get started are:
- a positive attitude
- a relationship list
- and a relationship action plan
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Make A List of 28 People You Know Who You Like or Respect
If living a happy and healthy life is important to you – especially as you age – then you must pay attention to the relationships in your life. A good place to start is to identify the 28 biggest givers in your life.
Write down these 28 names of your most favorite, most-generous friends and acquaintances, and also write down when the last time was you reached out and connected with each person.
The number 28 is derived from the capacity of the human brain to form intimate attachments. It is thought to be around the upper limit of close adult friendships that one person can handle effectively.
You Can Cultivate Relationships that:
◕ increase your prosperity
◕ improve your health
◕ imbue your life with meaning
It’s connections with other human beings that turn life from black-and-white, into color.
The more healthy, intimate connections you have, the more vitality you will have in your later years – and research suggests (see sources below) the more of those later years you will actually have. A review of 148 studies found that people with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely.
Some animals only thrive amidst an environment of healthy relationships. Additionally, prosperity often equates with the abundance of quality, reciprocal relationships in one’s life. So close connections with other people are even more than just the spiritual zest of life, they have practical, earthly implications, too.
Reciprocal, gratifying relationships are an important part of your successful aging strategy.
Any hospice volunteer will tell you that – in the end – the realizations people have as they are dying are related in some way to wishing that one had been more intentional with relationships while alive.
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Paying close attention to your connections with others is not an extra curricular activity – it’s the reason for life itself.
It is relationships that matter most, and any new wellness regimen that does not include a component for improving relationships is incomplete.
Interpersonal experts such as Brian Buffini, Keith Ferrazzi, and Michael Port passionately devote their entire professional lives to helping others understand this simple concept: to increase your success you must improve your relationships.
Relationships are proven not only to be good for our physical health, but our spiritual and emotional health as well. Longevity science is revealing a significant correlation between:
- the quality of the relationships in your life
- how long you will live
- how healthy and happy your remaining years of life will be
Healthy relationships are what provide you with the sensation of being fully alive – of being heard, seen, deeply known, and loved. Make your list of 28 relationships today – give yourself a month to reach out and connect with each of them. Think of it as your personal social experiment. After a month, you can determine for yourself in what ways your life feels enriched.
For those of you who happen to be an introvert, I encourage to remember that it’s much easier to remove negative people from your environment, than it is to add new positive people into your life. Removing negativity can be relatively fast and is the best place to start – adding positivity takes longer for adults, and is a process.
For an introvert – someone who recharges their emotional batteries in solitude – 28 is just an inspiring goal – not a mandatory requirement. Think of life as a delicious journey during which you get to add positive people gradually over time, as you get to know yourself better and better – and as opportunities arrive intermittently.
How Improving Your Sociability Will Help You Thrive
Sociability is the quality of being social. It’s what connects people to one another and gives life fulfillment and enhanced meaning.
The intention of this site, Over Fifty and Fit, is to help mature humans raise personal happiness levels. It is curated by David Findley and Dane Findley who encourage sociability:
- we are fascinated by the ways in which humans can raise the level of comfort, meaning, and health in their daily lives
- we enjoy facilitating conversations in which solutions emerge
- we help people up their joy levels!
The Art and Technology of Sociability
This forum engages the collective wisdom of the tribe.
Are you intrigued by solutions for improving quality of life?
We have over 137,000 human beings following us on social. You, too, can be part of the ongoing conversation. We encourage you to connect with us via the social channels and to comment.
Relationships imbue life with color.
- What is your current level of sociability?
- What is your intention with the relationships in your life?
The power of intention is exponential. To understand this, is to understand something pivotal about your life.”
Intention refers to the purpose behind the actions we take in our life.
There are times when we rush headlong into our day, scarcely mindful of the whys or hows behind what we are doing.
Auto-pilot has been somehow been activated and we are letting it set the course.
However, there are other times when we have a clearer objective and are consciously tending to our process as we go.
If we hope to make true and lasting change in our lives, it’s important that we bring more awareness to our daily actions – through our intentions.
Intention allows the mundane to be molded into the sacred.
It creates an avenue for us to consciously join our yearnings with our actions.
Intention, therefore, becomes the paintbrush creating the artwork of our lives. Without it, we are just hoping the paint makes its way to the canvas where it will somehow get moved around by unseen forces resulting in something beautiful spontaneously emerging.
Many of us have a vision for the reality we would like to bring forth but forget to consciously tend that vision and before we realize it – it has faded away.how intention turns the mundane into the magicalClick To Tweet
There are both big and small ways to grow our awareness and to foster an evolution of a life we love living.
The interesting thing about creating intention is that it can be used alone or along side the other methods.
For instance, we can set the intention, at the beginning of our day, that we would like to be more social, more authentically interested in others and to speak more compassionately to ourselves and others. Or, that would like to have a productive day so that we have more down time to spend with our family after work.
We could also set an intention before we meditate by saying that our purpose is to bring harmony into ourselves, our families, and our communities.
We can also set the intention to remember our dreams upon waking. As Susan Greenland notes, “setting intention to do something is the first step in any form of discipline.”
Setting intention then becomes an announcement to your self and the Universe that you are ready to move in a certain direction.
It can become a very powerful tool if you can get into the habit of doing a quick check-in before engaging in some of the larger and the more subtle moments of your day.
Before beginning to set intention, it can be helpful to become aware of your motivations. It may surprise you, but many of us have only a vague awareness as to why we are doing the things we are doing.
Let’s take the example of a sociability. When we are invited out to gather with others, what are our reasons behind accepting or declining the invitation?
• Do we feel like we want to get to know this person (or people) better?
• Do we look forward to spending some one-on-one time with a close friend?
• Are we excited for a change of pace?
• Do we feel obligated because it is work related?
• If so, do we feel put upon and resentful?
Ask yourself: “What will this interaction likely take from, or add to, my life?” It may seem like a lot of grilling to put yourself through, but you maybe surprised by some of the answers that arise around sociability.
The importance of this process is that it allows you to discover whether your actions are in line with your needs and desires.
When we become aware that we are not speaking our truth – that we are perhaps overextending ourselves because of a fear of disappointing others, or fear of lack of approval – we can decide if we would like to continue with the same reactive responses or to live in our truth and be responsible for our own needs and limits.
When we become more aware of our underlying motivation, we can begin to set intentions that are more in line with the life we are trying to foster.
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• Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community – Robert Putnam – “Social Capital Primer” http://bowlingalone.com/?page_id=13
• Evolutionary Psychiatry – Steven Anthony – “Mood Disorders and Psychiatric Symptoms are Manifestations of Ancient Adaptive Strategies” http://www.anthonystevens.co.uk/evolutionary.htm
• 10 Types of Odd Friendships You’re Probably Part Of – Tim Urban – http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/10-types-odd-friendships-youre-probably-part.html
• On Consequences of Social Isolation – Miranda Bauer – “Building a Social Safety Net” https://www.bluezones.com/2012/04/friends-nourish-the-body-and-soul/
• Health risks from Isolation Comparable to Risks of Cigarette-Smoking – Mary Jo Kreitzer, RN, PhD – http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/relationships/why-personal-relationships-are-important