The importance of staying connected to friends and family
“The best times are found when friends and family gather around.”
Having moved to Florida two years ago, this summer, I was fortunate to spend almost three weeks reconnecting with my family and friends in England. I was inspired to write this article by new and old friends and family in my life.
It is rare if relationships with our friends and family are effortless. They usually require work, love, understanding and sometimes forgiveness. They may test us but relationships are rewarding.
Here’s some reasons why friends and family are important:
1.Reliving happy memories
“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.” Jeremy Irons
As we go about our day-to-day life we may not actively remember all the good things that have happened in our lives. As humans, we are more wired to remember and hold onto the not so good and play down the good moments. When reconnecting with family and friends we can reminisce about shared experiences and days gone by.
2. Create magic memories
“The best gifts in the world are not in material objects one can buy from the store, but in the memories we make with the people we love.” Unknown
As well as reminiscing about the good old days, getting together with friends and family are a great way to create new memories. How about creating some new traditions with friends or family?
3. Passing down lessons learnt
“Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.” Mattie Stepanek
I love listening to my elder relatives talking about their life experiences. They share funny stories as well as character building moments they’ve lived through. If you listen carefully there is always something to learn. Additionally, when you hear how much life has changed amongst each generation you realize just how far we have come as a society. My children love hearing from the elders in our family too. It gives them a glimpse into times gone by and a real appreciation of the life they lead today.
4. It’s important for our health and wellbeing
“Family, nature and health all go together.” Olivia Newton-John
An article by Harvard Medical School states “a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality.
One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.”
I was astounded to learn these facts. I always knew how important family and friends are however I hadn’t realized how much those relationships impacted your health. It’s worth reading the whole article “The health benefits of strong relationships.”
5. Family is more than just biological
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs, the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” Unknown
Sandra Bullock said, “You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family.” And she is right. Many families are no longer formed in what might be perceived in a ‘conventional way.’
‘Family’ can be who you want it to be. Simply look to surround yourself with people who care about you and who lift you up.
Sadly, since writing this article, a dear Aunt, whom I managed to see this summer in England, has passed away. The biggest lesson I learnt was, if you don’t make time for people when they are alive then what is the point in grieving for them when they pass away? I am so glad I made the time to see her.
We live in a 24/7 society where we are always on the go. However, if we are truly honest to ourselves and really think about it, we can make time for things we really want to.
Social media and technology provides many opportunities to stay in touch with our loved ones. So even if you cannot meet in person, or even in between meeting in person, you can email, tweet, what’s app, Facetime and Facebook and so much more.
Making time and being connected with family and friends is good for our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and it enriches our soul. When all is said and done, life is simply about experiences and people not things.
What can you do to reach out to a friend or family member today?
Some more family quotes
‘Tennis is just a game, family is forever.’ – Serena Williams
‘Spend some time this weekend on home improvement; improve your attitude toward your family.’ – Bo Bennett
‘A family is a risky venture, because the greater the love, the greater the loss… That’s the trade-off. But I’ll take it all.’ – Brad Pitt
‘To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.’ – Confucius