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 could help you improve your health and prosperity.
It is through relating to other human beings that you grow and evolve – and how you deepen and expand your 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
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 your 28 biggest givers.
What if the best year of your life hasn’t happened yet?
I’m Dane Findley and my message is simple: it’s only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone – therefore, the best investment you can ever make is in your own health.
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Write down 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.
28 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 a wish that they had been more intentional with relationships while alive.
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Paying close attention to your connections with others is not an extracurricular 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.
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 Crafting Your Intentions Will Improve Your Sociability
Intention refers to the purpose behind the actions you take in your life.
There are times when you rush headlong into your day, scarcely mindful of the whys or hows behind what you’re doing. It’s that way for everyone.
Auto-pilot has been somehow been activated and you’re letting it set the course.
However, there are other times when you have a clearer objective and are consciously tending to your process as you go.
If you hope to make a true and lasting change in your life, it’s important that you bring more awareness to your daily actions – through your intentions.
Intention allows the mundane to be molded into the sacred.
It creates an avenue to consciously join your yearnings with your actions.
An intention, therefore, becomes the paintbrush creating the artwork of your life.
Without it, you’re 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 your awareness and to foster an evolution of a life you love living.
The interesting thing about creating intention is that it can be used alone or alongside the other methods:
- For instance, I can set the intention, at the beginning of our day, that I would like to be more social, more authentically interested in others and to speak more compassionately to myself and others.
- Or, that I would like to have a productive day so that I can have more downtime to spend with family after work.
- I could set an intention before I meditate by saying that my purpose is to bring harmony into myself and my community.
- I can also set the intention to remember my dreams upon waking.
As Susan Greenland notes, “setting intention to do something is the first step in any form of discipline.”
The Art and Technology of Sociability
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. This forum engages the collective wisdom of the tribe:
- I’m fascinated by the ways in which humans can raise the level of comfort, meaning, and health in their daily lives
- I enjoy facilitating conversations in which solutions emerge
- I help people to up their joy levels!
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.”
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 an 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 you are invited out to gather with others, what are your reasons for accepting or declining the invitation?
• Do you feel like you want to get to know this person (or people) better?
• Do you look forward to spending some one-on-one time with a close friend?
• Are you excited for a change of pace?
• Do you feel obligated because it is work related?
• If so, do you 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 may be 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 you become aware that you’re not speaking your own truth – that you are perhaps overextending because of a fear of disappointing others, or fear of lack of approval – you can decide if you’d like to continue with the same reactive responses or to live in your truth and be responsible for your own needs and limits.
When you become more aware of your underlying motivation, you can begin to set intentions that are more in line with the life you 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