Cultivating Friendships in Middle Age by Guest Blogger Heather Green

Friendship

Friendship (Photo credit: Iguanasan)

In my research and study about the lives of Centenarians and Super Centenarians, I have discovered that one of the most significant factors in healthy aging is creating a support system of friends and family.  Those who live substantial, healthy and productive lives into their later years know something about the value of friendship.

 

My question for you is:  Have you created a support system of caring, productive and loving friends?  Do you have friends to share your favorite activities, to listen empathically to you as you share your life questions, dilemmas and concerns?  And do you have people who help you to smile, laugh and enjoy your moment to moment life?

 

Cultivating Friendships in Middle Age by Guest Blogger Heather Green


“Having friends provides a range of health benefits for the average person. Friends improve our self-esteem because we know that other people care about us and what is happening in our lives. People with healthy support networks report higher rates of happiness and decreased rates of stress than people who don’t have friends. As you age, friends provide a wonderful coping mechanism for facing life’s traumas, but cultivating those friendships can be difficult. Here are a few ways that you can begin to cultivate friendships to help stay mentally sharp.

 

Rekindle Old Friendships


Some friendships don’t really stop being part of your life so much as your lives just diverge. People who are approaching middle-age often have allowed their own interests and friendships to take a backseat to chatting with other parents at soccer practice or helping with college applications. When you start to think about how to create friendships now, look to people who once were friends. They have a shared history, which can prove beneficial going forward.

 

Look to Your Interests


With the rise of social networking, finding people who share your interests has never been an easier prospect. Sites like Pinterest.com allow you to follow or connect with others who share a hobby or worldview while Meetup.com and other similar websites will facilitate face-to-face meetings with people in your area who want to participate in an activity together. Finding people who may share a hobby or desire to learn about something new is an excellent way to begin to make connections with new people.

 

Take a Community Education Course


One of the best ways, according to scores of research studies over several decades, to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is to continue to learn. While many baby boomers in particular are not at the age yet to suffer from these diseases, working now can help to stave it off. School districts and community colleges often offer community education courses that allow students to learn something interesting and connect with others who are learning also.

 

Volunteer


As parents, people often give of themselves to make sure that their children have everything they need. For many parents, this giving involves volunteering to run concessions or drive carpool or stuff fundraising kits. When children age, begin to seek out other volunteer opportunities that will allow you the opportunity to meet new people while helping others. Most mid-sized to large cities have volunteer coordination centers that keep lists of what groups need. Alternately you can contact a group whose work you admire.

 

While cultivating friendships as an adult can be difficult to manage, making time for friends is beneficial to staying healthy. Quality friendships make us happier, and that happiness has a beneficial effect on overall health.”

 

Heather Green is a freelance writer and resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics.

 

Are you creating loving, supportive and evolving relationships throughout the years of your life or have you stopped trying to engage with new and interesting people?  Please share about your experiences by leaving a comment below.

 

Warmly,

 

Dr. Erica

 

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