Healthy Living: 8 Steps to Take Today
Healthy living starts right now. Experts tell you how.
Healthy Living Step No. 7: Improve your relationships.
Healthy living isn't just about your personal habits for, say, diet and
activity. It's also about your connections with other people -- your social
DeWall, the University of Kentucky social psychologist, offers these tips
for broadening your social network:
Look for people like you. The details of their lives don't have to
match yours, but look for a similar level of openness. "What really is
important in terms of promoting relationship well-being is that you share a
similar level of comfort in getting close to people," DeWall says. For
instance, he says that someone who needs a lot of reassurance might not find
the best relationship with someone who's more standoffish. "Feel people out
in terms of, 'Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to
other people?'" DeWall suggests.
Spend time with people. "There's this emphasis in our culture
that you need to be very independent -- an army of one, you can get along on
your own," DeWall says. "Most people don't know their neighbors as much
as they did 50 or 60 years ago."
Build both virtual and face-to-face relationships. DeWall isn't
against having online connections to other people. "But I think long term,
having all of your relationships online or virtual ... would probably be
something that wouldn't be as beneficial as having a mix" of having virtual
and in-person relationships.
If a close relationship is painful, get help. "Some of my work
and some work that other people are doing suggest that ... when you feel
rejected by someone, that your body actually registers it as pain. So if I'm in a relationship
that's really causing me a lot of pain, then we need to do something, we need
to go and seek help," DeWall says.
Healthy Living Step No. 8: Challenge your mind.
Participating in mentally stimulating activities, especially activities that
involve other people, may be good for the brain.
There's no downside to including brain-challenging activities as part of
your healthy living, unless "you spent $400 on some computer program that
makes all sorts of wild claims about brain health," says David Knopman, MD,
a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.