Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

How Friends Impact Your Health

 

There is a strong connection between friendship and health. Recall the happiest times of your life, and those memories likely include friends celebrating with you. Just as important, true friends support you through the bad times that happen in every life, from everyday disappointments to the heartbreak of loss. That’s what good friends do.

Friendship enriches our existence and makes life’s journey more enjoyable. Friends give us a sense of belonging and bolster our self-esteem. Yet, our closest friends will “tell it like it is” and encourage us to change bad habits or adopt good ones. Best friends assume the role of trusted confidante. Who better to listen to your rant in a non-judgmental way than your best friend? Having someone with whom you can talk about anything promotes healthy stress management.

Even self-described loners need interaction with people. Appropriate doses of companionship are especially helpful to prevent loneliness if you live by yourself. The never-married or single-again adult can too easily fall into the trap of staying home too much and eating solitary dinners off a tray in front of the TV. A tendency toward reclusivity may become more pronounced after retirement. Finding one still wearing pajamas mid-day is a red flag that it’s time to get out of a rut.

Many people carry friendships from high school or college into adulthood. New friendships are formed with compatible individuals met through work or after moves to new neighborhoods. Sometimes, life changes—increased workloads, rearing children, caring for aging parents—interfere with existing friendships, and we let them slip out of our lives. Career moves may require relocation and leaving friends behind.

Extroverts—naturally outgoing and sociable— find it easy to meet people and form new friendships. They are often described as, “She never meets a stranger,” or “He makes friends everywhere he goes.”

The naturally shy, socially anxious, or introverted person does not meet people or form new attachments easily. Social events are often avoided. Small talk is dreaded like torture. Without coaxing from others to join in or a personal effort to overcome inhibitions and fears, this individual may let friendship slide—perhaps forever.

It takes effort to make friends and nurture friendships. While social networking can provide connections and relieve loneliness to some extent, making 100 new “friends” online does not take the place of face time in offline relationships. Meeting new people and discovering common interests and values requires getting off the sofa and going out there….Go where you will find other people doing things you are likely to enjoy.

If you like to read, join a book discussion group. Think about those things you really enjoy—cooking, gardening, crafts, music, live theater—and search for groups that share your interests. Volunteer your time with a charitable organization where you’ll come together with others whose compassion for these issues matches your own. Take a continuing education class at your local community college—inexpensive, short-termed and a broad variety of topics. Learning something new enhances conversation.

Friendships—whether existing or new—must be nurtured to last and grow. In order to have (and keep) friends in your life, you must also be a good friend. Forge a positive attitude, practice tolerance, and don’t be judgmental. Friendship is a two-way street, and both parties in the relationship must be willing to give, not just take. Cultivate active listening skills. (Some of the best listeners are those who don’t like to talk, but make a great audience for the more talkative.)

Cultivating and cherishing friendships can affect anyone’s longevity. A ten-year Australian study of 1500 senior citizens by Flinders University’s Centre for Ageing Studies found that the participants who had a large support group of friends outlived those with the least friends by 22%. As one’s social connections decrease, the risk for mortality increases. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, states the mortality risk is nearly as great as that created by smoking.

So…fill the friendship “prescription” for good health. It’s a renewable prescription for life!

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr. M Williams

312-972-9355  (WELL)

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

The High Cost of Ignoring Your Intuition

 

Cindy met Bill through her tennis club. He was charming, good-looking, and he swept her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship. Pushing for a quick marriage, he proposed after only two months. Though she felt a few flutters of anxiety, Cindy accepted, hoping for true love. Six months later, she deeply regretted the haste. Bill turned out to be both alcoholic and verbally abusive, with the threat of physical abuse lurking in the volatile atmosphere. Frightened, she moved out and filed for divorce. Later, she reflected on how she had gotten herself in such a painful place.

Something deep inside Cindy had sent up warning flares, telling her that she was moving too fast. But she’d plunged ahead, repressing her own better judgment, which was trying to get her to slow down. Why had she ignored the signals?

“I was afraid that if I told him I wanted to slow down, he might lose interest. He was so passionate, so full of life, and I felt so flattered that this great looking guy wanted me. All the women liked him. It wasn’t hard to imagine that he might drop me and move on to someone more willing.”

The high cost of ignoring your own signals? High-risk relationships and the likelihood of divorce. But most of all, the cost is to your own self-esteem, because the bottom line is that you let yourself down. You failed at your most basic job in life: taking care of you.

These days, Cindy is reluctant to accept even the most seemingly safe dates. She doesn’t trust herself, fearful of repeating the past and making another disastrous mistake. Self-forgiveness is the hardest when we know we didn’t protect ourselves.

The lesson is simple: never let your desire for a particular person override your common sense. When your gut is screaming at you, listen, honor what it is telling you, and proceed with caution. And this goes for any area of your life, not just relationships – trust your intuition, go with your gut.

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr M Williams

312-972-WELL (9355)

Healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Recover From an Affair – When You’re the Cheater

How to Recover From an Affair – When You’re the Cheater

cheater

I addressed people whose spouses have cheated on them and tried to offer some guidelines for surviving the crisis. In this post I’d like to speak to those on the other side of the equation, namely, the cheaters. In particular I will be speaking to folks who have already been caught and who would like to save the marriage – if you are planning to leave the marriage anyway, that is a whole different kettle of fish, and if you haven’t been caught, you have a major moral decision to make. Perhaps we can tackle this in a future post.

What are the things you need to know in order to repair the damage of your extremely poor choice? Note that I will not be mincing words here – if you cheated on your spouse, you did something wrong. Certainly you can change and seek forgiveness – we all make mistakes –but it was a mistake nonetheless. So that is our first point:

1. Take responsibility

If you are serious about saving your marriage, you will have to accept that you acted in error. Unfaithful spouses who blame their partner – even a little bit – for the affair are not going to be successful at rebuilding the relationship. (In a relationship that is already characterized by emotional abuse, the cheated-on spouse might be accustomed to being mistreated by their partner and then manipulated into accepting responsibility for it. This does not mean that the cheater is going to succeed in saving the relationship without taking responsibility. What it actually means is there wasn’t really a true relationship to save in the first place.)

It doesn’t matter if your husband was distant. It doesn’t matter if your wife was not being sexual with you. Nobody forced you to have an affair; there are many ways to deal with problems in your marriage (couples counseling, anyone?), and you made the choice to pursue this one. Only once you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions can you hope to achieve forgiveness from your spouse and re-enter into a balanced relationship. If you are still saying or thinking, “Well,if s/he hadn’t…” – you are not ready to fix your marriage.

2. Take appropriate steps to provide security to your spouse

I am assuming that – having accepted full responsibility for the infidelity – you have already apologized profusely, and will continue to do so for a while. That is certainly necessary, but not sufficient. Actions speak louder than words; if you say you’re sorry but keep your affair partner “as a friend,” you are not respecting your spouse. Your spouse needs an extra dose of commitment, trustworthiness, and respect at this point. You do this by cutting off all communications with your affair partner – all communications– to show your spouse that you value him/her above anyone and anything else. If you are concerned about the feelings of the person who you will be cutting off, then you are unconcerned about the feelings of your spouse.

This might become pretty drastic. If the person in question is a co-worker, you may need to change jobs. If it was a neighbor, you may seriously have to consider moving – if your marriage is that important to you, that is.

There are other important steps to take, all of which might very well be hard for you. You need to be punctilious about letting your spouse know your whereabouts. There are many apps these days that allow you to be located by your spouse at all times via GPS. If your spouse finds this reassuring, you should give him/her that reassurance without hesitation. Likewise, your spouse should have full access to your phone, texts, e-mails, Facebook account, and anything else s/he asks for. If you are concerned about your own need for privacy, then you are unconcerned about your spouse’s need for security at this time.

3. Take time

Even once you have accepted responsibility, apologized, and properly addressed your spouse’s need for security and respect, it will take time. You can’t expect that your spouse will be ready to forgive and forget just as soon as you check off all the things on the list. You probably have caused significant emotional pain, and that will take time to heal. If at any time you find yourself wanting to say, “Can’t you just get over it already?” or, “I said I’m sorry!” you need to check in with yourself and think about whether you are really seeking forgiveness, or demanding it. You are not entitled to forgiveness; it is something you must earn. And your spouse is not obligated to offer it. If you are truly remorseful and invested in repairing your relationship, that means giving your partner the time and space to recover at his/her own pace. (However, if you find yourself in a situation where your spouse is throwing your mistake in your face on a daily basis, or holding the grudge for years, professional help may be necessary.)

This article is just a short accounting of what a person who was unfaithful must do to save their marriage; it is not an exhaustive guide. Certainly seeking out a qualified marriage counselor would be of benefit for anyone in this situation. An affair does not have to mean the end of a marriage – but without appropriate repentance on the part of the guilty party, it is likely that it will be.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr. M Williams

312-972-9355 ( WELL)

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