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Don’t Distance, Get Closer Now!

The Harvard Study of Adult Development; “The good life is built with good relationships"; Mark Twain, Robert Waldinger; memory decline, loneliness kills
The Harvard Study of Adult Development; “The good life is built with good relationships"; Mark Twain, Robert Waldinger; memory decline, loneliness kills
Don’t Distance, Get Closer Now!

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal why it is critical that you get emotionally close to people during Covid-19.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

How To Overcome Loneliness Now In 4 Steps
Loneliness is different to being or feeling alone. You can be physically alone in a room but not feel lonely. Watch my video for the 4 things you can do now to overcome loneliness and what to do if you were already feeling lonely prior to this crisis

Now, let’s talk about Covid-19, and why it is critical that you get emotionally close to people.

Have you noticed the way your social circle has dramatically shrunk since Covid-19? Have you also noticed the resulting stress, pain, sadness, grief, fear, anxiety and negative emotions? While we are instructed to distance socially to stay safe, distancing emotionally is painful and dangerously unhealthy. We are designed to be with people, to form bonds, connections, family, and community, to depend upon and to support each other. Without those bonds and good relationships, we age faster, our brain and memory decline faster, and we die sooner!

During Covid-19, the impact of isolation, loneliness and emotional distancing is being dramatically accelerated.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development has been ongoing for 82 years, and it reveals that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

Perhaps Covid-19 has made it easier to see and understand than ever before: wealth, fame, hard work, riches, possessions, titles and career are not the solutions to the good life – to health and happiness. Relationships where you can count on each other are the keys to a life well-lived.

Below are 6 action steps to boost your mental and emotional health via relationships. First, here are 3 key lessons from the Harvard ongoing study which began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression.

1. Loneliness is toxic, and it kills!
“Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” – Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”

2. Quality not quantity matters.
“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.”

“There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.” – Mark Twain, looking back on his life.

3. Bickering doesn’t matter; having someone to count on is what protects your brain and health.
“Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper longer. And the people in relationships where they feel they really can’t count on the other one, those are the people who experience earlier memory decline. And those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

6 Tips to boost your mental and emotional health via relationships

1. Get Close
Be with and do things with people; choose those whom you have been with during Covid-19. Beware of isolating yourself. Share emotions, experiences, and perspectives; ask for and accept support. Have fun together.

2. Empathize and forgive your friends who disappeared
Understand that some people who have not been contacting or reaching out to you during quarantine, lockdown or Covid-19 in general, are not necessarily doing this because they are not real friends – they might actually be suffering from loneliness, sadness, grief or even depression. Not everyone is naturally skilled to know how to respond to or overcome the challenges of Covid-19. Reach out to them; they most likely need your help and support.

3.  Less computers, more people
Replace screen time with people time, and if you can’t be with people, use technology for video calls. Communicate from the heart.

4. Become significant by helping
Support your friends and social circle. Reach out, especially to the people who may have gone quiet during this time; again, they most likely need your help and support.

5. Have a date night
If you have been experiencing forced togetherness and you have children, you probably haven’t had a date night. Ask someone to help you with childminding, so that you can do something new together (even if it is a scenic drive) or a long walk.

6. Heal that family grudge and hurt
Heal the broken relationship with your family member. Perhaps you haven’t spoken in years, or there are grudges; reach out and express compassion and forgiveness. The relief you feel will be worth the challenge of stepping out of your comfort zone and ego.

“The good life is built with good relationships.” And it seems, our survival, health and happiness during Covid-19 is also going to be built and dependent upon good relationships.

If you need help to overcome a challenge, trauma or the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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