Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reaching Out

By Sharon A. O'Brien, SC; RN, PG; BSW, RSW; CG 
Executive Vice-President of Policy & Education 
at Senior Watch 

Studies show that positive relationships can extend our lives, reduce blood pressure, reduce frequency of migraine headaches, speed up recovery from a stroke and relieve the chronic pain of arthritis.

Who is there for you - no matter what? Who loves you unconditionally, under all circumstances? Who wonders where you are if unable to reach you by phone for an extended period? Who cares about your latest cholesterol test result?

Loneliness is truly the worst disease in the world! If social connectedness increases our resistance to disease and extends our lives, perhaps we should invest time and energy in developing relationships.

The first step in doing this is identifying all the people who are a part of our social circle - this includes casual friends and church acquaintances, neighbors, and close loved ones. Which people would you like to know better? Do it! Invite them over for a morning or afternoon break, for lunch, or for an evening. Another idea is to include a family member or close friend in discussions with your doctor if you have been diagnosed with an illness. This allows that person to encourage you and remind you that he/she believes in your
ability to manage the situation.

As a society we have placed so much importance on individuality and independence that often we become lonely, isolated individuals cut off from the very elements that can make us feel good.

We can extend our lives and the lives of others just by reaching out!

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