Relationships & Connections Archive

Articles

Can varied social interactions boost well-being?

A 2022 study suggested that having diverse social interactions is linked to improved happiness and well-being. In other words, it appears to be helpful to interact with family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers; the more varied the interactions are, the better.

Why play? Early games build bonds and brain

More than a million nerve connections are made in the brain in the first few years of life. Babies and young children thrive with responsive caregiving, such as engaging a child in playful games that change as they grow.

You don't say? The smell of love

Pheromones, the "love chemical," are produced by many animals and insects to attract the opposite sex. It's possible that humans also may make and process pheromones through vomeronasal organs in our noses.

Finding a higher meaning

As people age, they are more likely to explore a religious or spiritual practice. Research has found that this type of engagement is linked to longer life and a lower risk of serious health issues. These practices also can offer comfort and support if and when a person needs to navigate difficult times.

Holiday arguments brewing? Here's how to defuse them

The holidays are supposed to be filled with love, laughter, and good cheer. Unfortunately, joyous celebration often deteriorates into discord when family and friends gather during the season. But you don't have to get drawn into arguments if you plan ahead and stay alert for potential triggers.

A life-changing detour

Each year, millions of couples face one partner's serious diagnosis with a condition such as cancer, heart or kidney failure, or neurological illness, among others. People can support their partners through a difficult diagnosis and treatment by keeping communication open, maintaining daily routines, becoming informed about the medical condition, attending doctor visits, adding assistive devices in their home, getting wills and other legal documents in order, and seeking and accepting help from others.

Aiming for longevity

Genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to reaching age 100. More than 100,000 people were 100 or older in 2019, triple the number in 1980. People reaching extreme old age tend to be nonsmokers, are not obese, and cope with stress effectively. Studies show that diets incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may lower the odds of frailty and increase life span. Siblings and children of long-living people also are likelier to live longer than peers. Optimism is associated with higher odds of living beyond 90.

The mental powers of super-agers

Older adults known as super-agers have cognitive function similar to that of young people. Experts believe this is because their brains shrink at a much slower rate, which may be the result of genetics or lifestyle habits or both. While people can't alter their genes, it could be possible to slow their natural brain decline by adopting some super-ager habits, like being physically active, pursuing mentally challenging hobbies, eating a diet rich in inflammation-fighting foods, and engaging with social groups.

Getting the most from your remaining years

Following healthy habits like exercising, eating a proper diet, and being socially engaged can help people live a longer, healthier life. Still, the ultimate goal is not simply to live longer, but to enjoy life, which means placing more emphasis on quality of life. How life quality is defined can vary depending on people's goals, but it often revolves around three certain mindsets: having a sense of purpose, focusing on where one wants to devote time and energy, and enjoying the process and journey.

Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health

Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.

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