A life of gusto is not really possible when Boomers social life is on the wane. Being social is a critical component of our health and vitality as we age.
The worst thing we can do for our well-being is to isolate ourselves and withdraw from others. While we all have our moments of just wanting to be left alone, we need to be connected to other people for the most part.
We need that at any age, but particularly when we get older.
People who are not connected and in relationships with friends, family, co-workers or other communities tend to age faster and with less grace. These loners generally have more health problems, including mental and emotional health issues.
When we depend on our own internal monologues to keep us company, we lose touch with reality.
Not being connected socially takes a huge toll on our psyches as well as our health. If Boomers social life is not a priority, we suffer.
We become more prone to depression when we remain isolated and that clears the way for other diseases such as various stages of dementia.
We also lose our sense of purpose and meaning in life.
We become bitter and stuck in our ways. We have no joy, nothing to look forward to, no one to interact with or engage in stimulating conversations.
If we fail to surround ourselves with others and their feedback or input, we tend to forget that we actually have something to offer, that we have contributions to make.
We forget that we can and do make a difference in the world.
A study at the Stanford Center on Longevity found that individuals who are socially isolated face health risks comparable to what smokers face. That same study confirmed that social engagement promoted physical and mental health.
A Harvard research study that stretched for more than 75 years found that good relationships keep us happier and healthier across the board.
We also live longer and with more quality of life. Among other things, the study revealed that social connections are just plain good for us - the opposite kills.
When Boomers social life is defunct, brain functioning starts declining earlier. Memories start disappearing.
Immune systems get compromised and weakened.
People who have healthy relationships with others they can count on experience sharper minds and memories that last longer. They even have higher scores on intelligence tests and lower rates of dementia of any kind.
They are also less likely to develop any of the chronic diseases that aging brings up. They generally have a lower risk of death from breast cancer and better chances of surviving heart surgery.
Spending time with others in a social setting lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation in your body, studies have found. And that can reduce the likelihood of strokes or heart problems.
When Boomers social life is active, we’re more prone to make healthy choices and reduce bad health habits. When we’re connected, we experience a sense of being cared about.
Healthy aging is more possible when we're being social.
When you start evaluating your relationships and what’s so about them, look for ways to broaden your horizons.
Find friends from different backgrounds or ethnicities and nationalities than you and see what shows up.
It would be hard to ever get bored when your array of relationships is so diverse.
If you’re not already involved in your communities, that’s a good place to start. That can include churches, non-profit organizations that need volunteers or recreation centers that host activities.
Take a class at the local college. Join a gym or a Tai Chi group.
Get to know your neighbors. Spend more time with family members outside of your household. Reach out to friends from long ago you may have lost touch with over the years.
Boomers social life can also include having lunch with a friend, babysitting with grandchildren, having a dinner date with your spouse. Talk to strangers and discover what you have in common.
Just connect wherever there’s an opportunity.
Tell stories, listen to stories. Ask questions and share who you are - what’s important to you. Share what you are interested in.
Regardless of where you find others to connect with, nurture those relationships. You’ll help each other live longer, be happier and have better health.