Conversations + Chocolate = Connection and Longevity
As humans we are spiritual and social beings. We are connected to an infinite power, our Source, Mother Nature and to each other. The definition of "social connectedness is the measure of how people come together and interact. At an individual level, social connectedness involves the quality and number of connections one has with other people in a social circle of family, friends, and acquaintances." (Wikipedia)
With social media being our "go to place" for social interaction and staying in touch with family members, acquaintances and friends, now more than ever, it's important to remember that we need personal contact to live a full and healthy life. This is highlighted in the TedTalk video of a researcher who studied tens of thousands of middle aged people and looked at every aspect of their lifestyle. After seven years the researcher looked at this same group of people to see who was living at their best. The top predictor in the study was social integration, which means how many people we interact with during the course of our day. This might mean saying a simple "hello" to a stranger or talking with someone who you may not know that well at your fitness class. Making an effort to connect with another person not only has a positive effect on one's mental and physical state but it also influences how long we live.
Taking time to drop by and visit or make a date is what I call "watering the garden" of our relationships. It takes conservative effort, yet the value received in nurturing our friendships and close relationships is what's important for a long and happy life. One of my favourite ways to catch up with a friend or loved one is by going for a paddle. Being on the water is the best place to have time together and connect. The sights, sounds and smell of nature are all around and there is this feeling of being away from it all that allows for more intimate conversations to occur. Besides....it's fun and it feels like play not exercise!
Photo: an enjoyable visit kayaking in Tod Inlet with a friend and her grandson
So on this Valentine's Day make a date with a family member, friend or partner and get out on the water, go for a walk or sit somewhere in nature. You both will be rewarded for your efforts of making time for each other. May I also suggest that you add some dark chocolate to your bag and be sure to enjoy the benefits of good brain health with an increase of endorphins? Not only does chocolate have many great attributes, endorphins are a chemical compound that our brain requires for us to feel relaxed, calm and satisfied. It's a win/win no matter how you look at it! Have fun connecting! Happy Valentine's Day Sandra