Retirement means leaving the working world behind and spending time doing what’s most important to you. However, while there are many benefits to retirement, it does come with its challenges. One of these challenges is maintaining and forging new connections and relationships. As friends and family move away or pass on, some older adults can feel increasingly isolated, leading to a decrease in emotional well-being.
Here, we discuss the importance of emotional well-being, especially as we get older, and how friendships can help us improve this vital piece of our overall health puzzle.
What Is Emotional Well-Being?
There are three key factors to one’s overall health: physical well-being, mental well-being and emotional well-being. Among this group, the most oft-overlooked aspect is emotional well-being. At its most basic level, emotional well-being is defined by your ability to maintain positive thoughts and feelings, and adapt to adversity or stressful situations.
For example, when you miss out on a promising opportunity, are you optimistic another one will come along, or are you overwhelmed with disappointment? Those with strong emotional well-being are more easily able to focus on the positives and bounce back from difficult situations. Some of the benefits of prioritizing your emotional well-being also include:
- Maintaining a healthy perspective when giving or receiving feedback
- Being able to approach difficult conversations and discussions
- Establishing stronger personal relationships
How Friendships Strengthen Your Emotional Well-Being
There are many ways to improve one’s emotional well-being. These can range from engaging in regular exercise, getting enough sleep and practicing mindfulness. However, one often overlooked way to strengthen one’s emotional well-being is through cultivating new friendships and social connections.
Here are some ways friendships can strengthen your emotional well-being:
When you look at the true measure of friendship, it should be someone that supports you and even lifts you up. Your social group should leave you feeling energized and recharged, not drained. These sorts of relationships provide more meaning, and in turn help increase your self-esteem and sense of identity.
Keep You Mentally Sharp
When you’re with a group of like-minded individuals, they help you stay engaged through shared activities and conversation. One study found that those who have someone they can rely on as a good listener had a higher level of cognitive resilience, which helps with brain health and issues such as dementia.
Reduce Everyday Stress
Having strong friendships can reduce everyday stress when times get tough. Something as simple as a hug from a trusted friend can provide a big boost to your emotional well-being. Whether it’s a small act of kindness or emotional support, friendships help you recover from difficult times.
Provide Purpose and Belonging
It’s human nature to seek a place to belong. That belonging may come in the form of a church group, book club or just a few good friends. A sense of belonging has been shown to reduce feelings of hopelessness and depression, as well as reduce blood pressure and unhealthy body mass index (BMI).
How Community Living Helps Build Friendships Later in Life
Many older adults find that community living helps them build strong social bonds that can improve their emotional well-being. Here are some of the ways community living helps form meaningful friendships.
- Nearby neighbors. With community living, you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals seeking to make new connections. It’s much easier to get together for a game night or movie when friends are just a few steps from your front door.
- Shared interests. Instead of having to self-motivate to go to the gym, community living provides a network of people who you can enjoy a fitness class with. At communities like Oak Trace there’s an option for every interest, ranging from beautiful gardens to a woodworking shop.
- Long-term security. The future comes with plenty of unknowns, but life care communities can offer peace of mind for the long-term. Life care assures you’ll remain in the community you know and love, no matter how your care needs change over time. With on-site health services ranging from memory care to skilled nursing, you can stay within the community you love.
Find Your Community at Oak Trace
The Oak Trace community is a tight-knit neighborhood of vibrant, sophisticated individuals who enjoy all life has to offer. Residents enjoy exploring 40 acres of immaculately maintained grounds, sharing meals at one of our chef-led dining venues and so much more. No matter how you decide to spend your days, you can count on our friendly team to support you in accomplishing your goals. To learn more about Oak Trace or visit our community for yourself, contact us.