“Genes are nice, but JOY is better.” -The Harvard Gazette.
Traditionally, February is the month to celebrate romance and love. I propose we take the opportunity to celebrate all healthy, positive relationships this month. As social beings, we survive and thrive on human interaction. Research has proven, over the years, that quality relationships are vital to our mental and emotional well-being, and the health benefits are eye-opening.
Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest-running study on happiness. For 80 years, the study tracked 724 men. One group was Harvard sophomores during the Great Depression in 1938. The second was a group of men from the poorest neighborhoods of Boston. The study tracked the men throughout their lives and collected vast data. After 80 years of monitoring the participants and analyzing the data, the researchers found that satisfying relationships have a powerful impact on our health, happiness, and longevity.
“Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.” Robert Waldinger
Guess what? You don’t have to be in an intimate relationship to get the great benefits. You don’t have to have thousands of Facebook friends or Instagram followers. What’s essential is having positive and satisfying relationships in your life. You know, those people in your life that celebrate your wins and support you in challenges and losses. Or the community you can turn to in a time of need. Taking time to acknowledge and nurture these relationships filled with love, support, and hope can promote a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Some of the health benefits of healthy relationships and connections are:
- Reduced stress
- Protects brain health
- Encourages healthier behavior
- Creates a sense of purpose
- Increases life span
How do we connect to ourselves and others? We connect, love, and express through the fire element in Chinese medicine—the fire element corresponds to the heart and small intestines. Robust and balanced fire energy gives us the ability to break through isolation, loneliness, and alienation. It can dissolve barriers and melt away negativity, polarity, and hatred, leaving warm thoughts and feelings that nourish the body, mind, and spirit in a deep joy of harmony and unity.
Join me in the month of love. Open your heart and let your fire burn with enthusiasm, passion, and inspiration for all healthy connections in your life. Whether intimate relationships, friendships, or community, they deserve to be nourished and cherished because, in the end, they determine your health, happiness, and longevity.
Tips for developing and maintaining a variety of good relationships:
- Have a variety of social outlets.
- Develop at least one or two close friendships.
- Nurture the relationships that support and energize you.
“The only way to optimal health is to take care of yourself everyday emotionally, physically and mentally.”
Sheri Davidson, licensed acupuncturist (Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin) and Duke Integrative Medicine trained wellness coach, specializes in preventative medicine. She loves sharing her passion for wellness living and Eastern medicine through her blog, The Wellness Inspired Podcast, and practice, Element 5, Acupuncture + Wellness in Rice Village District of Houston, TX. Also, Sheri currently serves on the Texas Medical Board of Acupuncture Examiners
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L.Ac. + Wellness Coach