A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Your Health: This holiday season, invest in building strong relationships — important to improved health

By Dr. O’Dell Owens
Interact for Health

This is the time of year when we want to show our friends and family how much we care about them. As you make your to-do list and look at your budget, consider the gift of your time.

Dr. O’Dell Owens

One way to build strong relationships with children and adults is to show that we enjoy being with them. Set aside time for activities to do together, whether it’s sharing a meal or going to a holiday-themed event. Acknowledge people by name, for who they are, not just what they do.

The Search Institute, a nonprofit organization that studies and works to strengthen youth, outlines some ways we can build relationships. While focused on youth, many of these tips could apply to people of any age.

·  Express care: Show youth that you enjoy being with them.

·  Challenge growth: Help your children to see possibilities for their own futures.

·  Provide support: Guide and encourage children as they work to complete tasks and achieve goals.

·  Share power: Take children’s ideas seriously. Work together to solve problems and reach goals.

·  Expand possibilities: Help children connect with people, ideas and opportunities that help them learn and grow.
 
Spending time with those we care about is more than just creating a feel-good moment: Research shows a link between strong social ties and improved health, from fighting off germs to reducing incidence of depression and dementia.

As we come to the end of 2018 and begin a new year, be sure to invest in your relationships—for yourself, those you care about and your health.
 

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