Healthy Relationships Key to Social Fitness
Most everyone has a handful of close relationships in his/her life. Think spouses, children, parents, siblings and significant others. These relationships help build self esteem and help improve mental and emotional life so that we may live a fuller life rich with possibilities. There have been a host of studies completed showing that relationships are enormously important for our overall health. In fact, the quality of our personal relationships have a profound impact on our physical health as well. Tipping our hat to the recent Valentine’s Day holiday and in light of our current Run Ranger Run month, we reached out to a few veteran friends who indeed affirmed that their significant relationships impacted their physical health.
“She makes sure I eat right and we challenge each other to get exercise throughout the week,” admits one veteran.
With the knowledge that personal relationships deeply affect our life balance we note that all relationships require effort and constant attention.
“You are responsible for two things every day: Your attitude and your actions”
– Grant McGarry
With McGarry’s quote in mind the following are six suggestions on markers of a healthy relationship:
-> Take an Active Interest – Ask your person open ended questions and then LISTEN with intention. Do things that he or she is interested in just as much as the activities you are interested. Learn new things together. Enjoy a project or puzzle. Be inquisitive.
-> Acceptance and Respect – Accept the people in your life for who they are. Even the not so great qualities about them. Try to hold the relationships in your life in a positive light.
-> Meet Basic Needs – We all need basic things from our relationships. Companionship, affection, and emotional support lead the list. Be a person who is always willing to get better and build a bridge of support.
-> Positive Interactions – Keep lines of communication open and your interactions in a positive light.
-> Solve Problems – Solve problems together and avoid unhealthy relationships.
-> Disrupt and Repair – When there is damage to a relationship be willing to quickly repair the damage. Don’t wait too long. Be one that is willing to apologize and move forward.
Often times, within the veteran community, dysfunction if referred to as something to be accepted. We disagree. We are not dysfunctional, but we do need to mind our mental health. When we feel depressed, lonely or isolated we need to reach out and connect with others. Remember Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away? The Hanks character draws a face on a soccer ball and talks to it. For him this was an act of survival. This was his relationship and it kept him in a functional state. Your relationships are important and a vital part of your social fitness.
Being committed to social fitness is one way to enhance your life and create balance. A strong local social network is critical to feeling part of the community and connected to others. Telling and sharing your story is one way to find that local connection. Too often Veterans retreat behind online social media platforms and limit interpersonal exchanges to members of their families or other close friends or in a place where the focus is on alcohol consumption. There are hundreds of opportunities, in most communities, to get connected and socialize (and that helps develop professional network). Rotary clubs, Kiwanis, Chambers of Commerce are all great ways to meet new people, have fun and find new opportunities. Remember that isolation is the number one factor in Veteran issues and although meeting new people can be off-putting or intimidating to some, the structured format of a Chamber of Commerce social or Rotary club breakfast makes it a safe way to meet new people and make new friends.
GallantFew is committed to social fitness. Too many Veterans let life happen by accident. The only person who accidentally made his way to the top was Forrest Gump and that’s fiction.
GallantFew Functional Fitness (GFIT)
Throughout the year we focus on various aspects of the GallantFew STAR and showcase how our programs and services layer into GallantFew Functional Fitness (GFIT).
GallantFew can help you identify where you are holding yourself back and help you become intentional in each of the five points of the STAR: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Professional and Social. To learn more visit our GallantFew Functional Fitness page.
Connecting with a GallantFew Guide is critical in helping a veteran make that transition and get connected to that local social network. Guide or not, make it a goal to meet one new person every week! If you are struggling, know that you are NOT alone. If you find yourself lost in social media, comparing your life to others, break away from it. Reach out to someone LOCAL and start talking! If you’ve received help from an organization, let them know!! Write a review, post on their FB wall, share your experiences on your social media.