Tips for Creating Friendships and Community

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Tips for Creating Friendships and Community

More and more of us are feeling isolated and alone, despite the number of social media “friends” we have.  Ironically, the more technologically connected we are through social media, the more we are at risk for losing deep human connection. On-line social connections are valuable for lots of things but they are typically friendships that are more shallow than deep. Mark Vernon, a priest turned psychotherapist and author of The Meaning of Friendship, observes: “Just as our daily lives are becoming more technologically connected, we’re losing other more meaningful relationships. Yes, we’re losing our friends.”

We may find that we have few if any people with whom we can share our true selves or discuss intimate thoughts, fears or experiences.  This isolation can result in chronic stress which contributes to deterioration of the body and an increase in blood pressure.

So what can we do?

Something that can be helpful is to engage in the world through connecting with other people from different generations and backgrounds. Some of the most vibrant and loving friendships are between people who may be years apart in age and who grew up on different continents.  At the point of their lives where these people are when they meet on another, they share something of value that they each recognize.

1.  We can reconnect with old friends who “knew us when” and with whom we feel we are our true selves.

2.  We can GET OUT and GET GOING and GET CONNECTED in real time with real people.  We can get dressed in something that makes us feel great, and go someplace familiar or new, but a place we will likely enjoy, doing something we love, with the idea we will engage with others.

3.  We can look for opportunities for face-to-face conversations that stimulate healthy interactivity with others.

4.  We can be a vital part of the world by keeping human connections alive.

Friendships remind us that the world is bigger than our individual lives and that we are, in fact, part of a community. They help us live balanced, healthy, engaged, purposeful, meaningful and connected lives. Supportive friendships and other meaningful social connections are linked to longer life spans, improved physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, healthier living habits, lower blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol, sharper brain activity, and better survival rates after breast cancer and heart disease.

And if that is not enough, think about the power and comfort of having someone to lean on, or being that someone for someone else to lean on, in challenging times

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