One of the key measures of happiness according to the World Happiness Report is Social Support. Nurturing and cultivating relationships improves life.
We’ve all known the lift that comes with having a cup of coffee with an old friend, or being helped by a young cousin or niece. According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, a well-maintained social network really does contribute to a healthier life.
Developing a strong social safety net requires some personal motivation and effort. Some pointers for mending your net:
Cultivate and nurture friendships
“To have a friend, be a friend.” There’s nothing like a friend for emotional support. However, as friends age, they may need help as well with daily living responsibilities. Helping out can be beneficial to you both, since the value of a trusted friend is the emotional support he or she can offer—at any age.
Work on strengthening family ties
For most of us, family is the cornerstone of practical help. Of course, even the most solid family relationships can be tested by the needs that accompany aging. But the stronger it is to begin with, the more help it is likely to provide in times of need.
Find a place to belong
Involvement with church and community has been proven to be associated with longer life. Creating a “place of belonging” brings security, a sense of identity, and an opportunity to build additional supportive friendships.
Choose in person connection over devices
Interestingly, increasing exposure and use of digital media, which can supplant person-to-person engagement, has been measured in having a negative role in wellbeing.