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Review the quality of your relationships
As a society we are living longer. One of the things that contributes to us living longer and also living healthier for longer is the quality of our relationships.
There are areas in the world described as ‘Blue Zones’. The term refers to geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else. A number of studies have found that these areas contain extremely high rates of nonagenarians and centenarians, which are people who live over 90 and 100, respectively.
The Blue Zones areas are;
- Icaria (Greece)
- Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy)
- Okinawa (Japan)
- Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica)
- The Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California (USA)
One of the characteristics common to all of these areas is that people have a healthy social network. Your social network, called “moai” in Okinawa, can affect your health. The focus is upon the quality of relationships.
Below is an exercise for you to review the quality of your relationships.
Beyond our family the people that we are connected to typically fall into three categories:
- Acquaintances – those people that we know but have spent little time with. We are able to pass the time of day with these people, but we are unlikely to share details with them or spend lots of time in their company.
- Friends – those people that we know well. We may either have been connected to them for a long time and therefore they know a lot about our lives, or we may have bonded with them and have therefore been open about ourselves.
- Inner circle – those people that have our back and are non-judgemental about us no matter what. Typically, this is a reciprocal relationship, i.e. they feel that they can be truly open and honest with you. This is usually a very small group of people.
Think about your relationships. Please write down the names of people that you have in each category.
What does your analysis tell you about your connectedness and the quality of your relationships?
What can you do to strengthen your relationships particularly with those people in your inner circle?
In Monday’s email we will review how we can strengthen our relationships.
If any of these emails or exercises have affected you and you feel you would like to speak to someone, support is available through RSABI. You can call them on 0300 111 4166. Their helpline is open from 7am to 11pm all year.
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