July 6, 2015
Some recent research (summarized nicely in the WSJ) has shown a nice correlation between socializing and life longevity (and quality). It’s no surprise though, as we are social animals. Surely some people are more extroverted than others and some people really need their alone time, but there are a handful of hypothesizes about why social contact with other people can extend a person’s life. It may be as simple as having someone to call a doctor for you or as complex as physiological changes that occur when we interact with other people (e.g., increased oxytocin).
Regardless, it makes sense to make sure you are connected with other people, interacting with them in a meaningful way and deriving pleasurable benefit from these interactions. So throw a party, call up an old friend or grab lunch with a colleague. It’s often difficult to start friendships. Luckily we now have resources that make this much easier such as sites like MeetUp.com. I frequently recommend that people – – particularly those who are more isolated, new to town or just shy – – browse MeetUp.com to find like-minded people to socialize with. It still requires effort and time, but it’s a nice, non-threatening way to reach out and connect with other people.
October 31, 2011
I have to admit that though I receive The American Psychologist (the main journal of the APA) monthly, I rarely get through more than one article per issue because the articles are so dense. This month, there was a great article about Lifestyle and Mental Health. What I loved about this article is that there was nothing all that radical in it; it simply listed dozens and dozens of published articles that support the association between improved mental and physical health with exercise, nutrition and diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement and service to others.
These “lifestyle” issues are all things that I have been talking about with my patients in therapy for years. This article simply provides a wonderful review of the scientific literature that supports these lifestyle changes. Take a moment and read through the article. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to make a few lifestyle changes of your own.
May 27, 2011
In addition to my work with disruptive professionals, consulting to workplaces, etc, I also do psychotherapy with adults, older adolescents and seniors. Many of my patients are dealing with relationship problems – – breakups, cheating, separation or just adjusting to being single. When people are thrust “out there” in the dating world (especially if they have been in a committed relationship for years) have to refamiliarize themselves with “safe sex” practice. Since the late 1980’s/early 1990’s most of what sexually active people are concerned about when they contemplate safe sex is avoiding HIV. However recent studies have shown that Herpes is a far more prevalent sexually transmitted infection than we ever expected (apparently STDs are now referred to as STIs). Last month, a very eye-opening article was published in JAMA; it essentially reported that many people have Herpes but do not know it because they don’t have symptoms, and that Herpes is transmittable even when there is not an active outbreak. What this means is that sexually active people who are not practicing safe sex may unknowingly be contracting and/or spreading Herpes (and other STIs, of course).