Friends…family…colleagues…they’re an integral part of our everyday lives. Understanding and managing these relationships well are the keys to our health and happiness.
That’s What Friends Are For
It comes as no surprise that our friendships influence our mood. We know that when we’re down, we need the uplifting support of our girlfriends to reassure us, or sometimes just listen. When we have something to celebrate, they’re the first ones we call. What might be surprising, however, is that scientific research backs up this innate knowledge.
The Mayo Clinic asserts that “Good friends are good for our health” by:
• Boosting our self-confidence
• Acting as a sounding board in times of crisis
• Offering advice and guidance in making decisions
• Encouraging us to do and try new things
• Keeping us on track with goals and resolutions
Studies show that beyond just making us happy, a strong support network can even help us avoid serious health issues, such as high blood pressure and an unhealthy BMI (body mass index). Reduced risk of both has been documented in those with good pals in their lives.
Is it time for “THE TALK?”
Kids today seem to be maturing faster than ever before. Documented research shows that over the past few decades, kids are literally hitting puberty at an earlier age. But just because their bodies are showing signs of maturity, that doesn’t mean their minds have caught up yet. It may be difficult for them to process everything that gets thrown at them—by their friends, in movies, through advertising, from older kids at school and, of course, on the web.
Scientists say that a healthy understanding of our bodies and what they are capable of is vitally important in development. So much information is available out there—including bad or downright false “facts”—that it’s critical to intercept your child and set the record straight. Some kiddos as young as eight or nine might be ready for a sit-down with ole Mom and Dad about the basics of the birds and the bees.
It may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but if you approach “the talk” with confidence and without embarrassment, you’ll demonstrate to your little girl or guy that sex is no laughing matter. Establishing such open communication early on will also encourage them to come to you when they have questions or seek advice.