Last month, we shared a deep dive into four inspiring conversations with dynamic mothers ages 50+. Our deep dive into what has changed in their careers, in motherhood, and in how they see themselves revealed a number of insights. The most powerful? The role community and connection plays in the success of working women.
This month, we want to continue the conversation by highlighting other connections in our lives that contribute to our longevity, our health, and our well being – at home and at work. These include relationships with our friends, co-workers, business connections and with causes we are passionate about.
The month of June is named after Juno (Latin Iūnō), which comes from the root word for “young” (Iuuen). It’s been our experience that maintaining beneficial relationships keeps us connected and feeling youthful as we age and June seems the perfect time to do just that!!
Nurturing Friendships for Well Being
We derive joy from connecting with friends, but did you know this connection can also help us combat stress? In a series of studies conducted at the University of Virginia, people were faced with the threat of getting an electric shock either while solo or while holding a friend’s hand. MRI scans revealed that in those clinging to a friend, the brain regions that sense danger were significantly less active.
In our book, Wake Up, Shake Up, Thrive!, we talk about how relationships protect health through companionship, emotional support and practical assistance.
When we spend more time strengthening our bonds with friends we have less loneliness and isolation and more emotional support, personal development and a sense of belonging. In 2023, one in three adults aged 50–80 reported feeling isolated from others.
Neuroscience backs this up. Spending time with friends has been shown to cause more activity in the parts of the brain that make us feel good – the reward circuits. Maintaining long-lasting valuable social relations, including friendships, and an active social life appears to protect the brain from illnesses later in life such as dementia and Alzheimer’s which affect many older adults.
Making new friends as we age can be invigorating but there can be value in looking backwards too. If you’ve lost touch with someone, the power of the Internet and sites like Classmates.com and Facebook may help you find that “old friend” again.
Tips for Making and Keeping Up Friendships:
- Don’t keep tabs in friendships; take the initiative to call and make plans
- Friendships should always breathe life into you – look for friends with a positive outlook on life
- Make time for nurturing your most important friendships, even when life gets busy
Building Business Relationships for longevity
Business professionals who focus only on profits and the bottom line can burn out and burn bridges. It’s best to lead with value, rather than view your business relationships as purely transactional. After all, saying someone is “all business” is not the compliment it once was. Today, with all generations, a “profit first and people second” mentality turns off to customers, employees and candidates.
Remember: You didn’t stop being a human when you became a professional.
It makes sense and benefits your business’s sustainability when you take time to build relationships with your clients, employees, and other business professionals.
Networking and socializing in the business space are sometimes neglected by mid-career and senior professionals who believe their circle is adequate and no longer needs to expand. It’s short-sighted to view networking as only applicable to others, especially if you’re considering a new job beyond age 50 or entrepreneurship.
According to Deloitte, worldwide entrepreneurship activity for people aged 50 to 60 has doubled in the last decade, and their startups are almost twice as likely to succeed than youth startups.
Tips for building business relationships:
- Create a positive experience by referring business people you know and trust to others, they will return the favor the day you need them
- Seek opportunities to share your knowledge, experiences, skills and tips through public speaking, workshops or online events
- Join organized clubs, classes, online communities or professional organizations
Cultivating Work Friendships to Enhance Your Life
The benefits of camaraderie and enjoyable interaction between co-workers enhance mood, support resilience, alleviate stress, and stimulate a sense of self-worth. Since you spend roughly two-thirds of your waking hours at work, you might as well make some friends while you’re there!
Workplaces are one of the few places where we are rubbing elbows with up to five generations. Consider expanding your friendships beyond colleagues of a similar age or characteristics or you may miss out on a chance to learn from each other.
Tip for making friends on the job:
- Go beyond, “How are you?” and “How was your weekend?” Show a genuine interest in something they did as a place to start
- Attend company-sponsored events outside of work to continue relationship-building with teammates and beyond
- Open yourself to multi-generational friendships through cross-generational mentoring or collaborative projects
*If you are retiring or planning to soon, consider transferring your professional or extra-professional experience through teaching, speaking, coaching, consulting or mentoring.
Sharing passions for a fulfilling life
Discovering or rediscovering your passions – those things that light you up or cause you to lose track of time – is a lifelong adventure.
Adventure gives us more inspiration and desire to wake up every day – purpose. Having a sense of purpose contributes significantly to our longevity. When you have a “why” to wake up, you will wake up!
You may have passions you put down at some point, but you can pick them up again at any time. The positive power of modification is doable, too. A past passion for running which was put down as over time your joints began to ache, and you became more prone to injury can be modified. You can find fulfilling movement through other kinds of exercise like walking, cycling, swimming or even dancing.
If your passions are tied to a cause, this may be the time to volunteer or take more purposeful action that fulfills you now. Finding others with similar passions can help develop good social relationships which can improve blood pressure, physical activity, obesity, executive function, memory, cognitive decline and life expectancy. Over 148 studies found a 50% increase in survival of people with robust social relationships, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or how such relationships were defined.
Tips to Find Others WIth Similar Passions
- Let your mind go back in time, to your childhood, in search of what you were passionate about and ask yourself if you still have these passions
- Open up to newness by offering to help others, informally or through organizations or volunteer opportunities
- Challenge yourself to try clubs, classes, online communities, political organizations, religious gatherings, or alumni associations
Whether at work or at home, human connections catapult our health, our wellness and our outlook on life. They contribute to our mental and physical well-being and encourage us to become lifelong learners. Multiple studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer..
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”Douglas Pagels
Ageing can be ripe with fulfillment, as long as you take the steps to make it happen! To take the first step into learning how to Wake Up, Shake Up, and Thrive, head to our website to download the first two chapters of our book!
Did you know we have a referral and partnership program? We LOVE nurturing our relationships and compensating our business partners accordingly. Learn more about partnering with us here or better, reach out to chat!.