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    Surprising Health Benefits of Relationships
    Henry S Lodge, MD posted:
    Turns out, relationships -- interactions with your family or friends -- can change your physical chemistry in ways we never imagined. There are stunning effects on your long-term physical health -- a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack, for instance. And the effects on your brain are even greater! Your risk of Alzheimer's falls dramatically with social connection. And areas of your brain that can atrophy with loneliness and depression actually show re-growth with social connection, warmth, and engagement.

    Friends and family can be your most powerful resource. Meaningful engagement with your community is also important. It can be an effective substitute for closer social ties if you've let go of those kinds of connections over the years.

    Take a hard look at your social connections. Examine whether or not you are as deeply and meaningfully engaged as you really want it to be. If not, take steps today to change that! With all the social media available today, you can find friends you haven't been in touch with for decades. Reach out to the people around you and gain an understanding of your community's needs. This can give you opportunities to be involved and more widely connected with others.

    Make this your project for today! Reach out to people you have lost touch with. Start making plans to get together on a regular basis. Take a close look at how you can volunteer and help others. Your altruism could have a wonderful effect on your biology.
    MrsStJohn responded:
    This is so important, thank you for posting this resource.

    The epidemic I would like to mention, that has received very little meaningful knowledge until resently (mostly because it is devastating, and embarrassing). Relationships are important and none more important than with your adult children.

    Though, we have to find healing and live our life with the choices they make. I'm speaking of cases where there was no abuse of any kind.

    My only child (a daughter) has left me out of her life off and on
    for twelve years, starting the process about the time she married (nineteen years).

    The heartbreak has caused me many health problems. These are not health problems visible to other people, though my husband is aware of them and gives me the most wonderful support. I would not be alive if not for him and the love we have for each other.

    It has tremendous affect on your mental and biological health. Friends try to help but it's hard to understand unless you experience it. What can they do other than love you and cry with you. We tend to try to make sense of things in our life and this doesn't make any sense.

    Parents keep this pain to themselves for long periods because of the shame involved.

    I'm fortunate, in that, the last cut-off by her and her horrible behavior was witnessed by my close friends. I'm not implying that I want them to feel anything negative about her. I love her and wanted them to also.

    This time the connection mostly included her using me and my husband (not her father but loves her) for everything from
    babysitting (which we loved) to money hemorrhaging from our bank account of sums few could imagine.

    We have not seen her for thirteen months and it doesn't seem to be possible. I have talked to her and the kids a few times or seconds before she abruptly has to hang up. Stating she will call back and never does.

    My point in this very short version of my story of pain is to say, Thank You for re-enforcing the importance in staying involved with people that do love us and love being with us.

    Community volunteering has been a life saver on those days I hardly had the strength to put one foot after the other.

    Therapy and medication help but with enough set-backs and disapointments, you need support but it comes down to you to love yourself, give to others, and get through it.

    My Mother and I had a wonderful loving relationship and need to spend time together.

    We lost her amazing existence in 2006 and I'm sure the pain she endured and saw me endure from this estrangement had much to do with it.

    Your suggestions will be my project for everyday.

    I'll end with pleading with those who may know someone going through this to give them understanding and kindness. this happens for any reason or no reason.

    Thanks, Bella

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