An essential aspect of creating an Integrative Health plan is to focus on what really matters.  Equally important is to ask a person, “Who really matters?”  Family, Friends, & Co-Workers focuses on all the ways a person might answer this important question.  This overview, which builds on the materials featured in Chapter 10 of the Passport to Whole Health (13MB PDF), reviews research related to relationships and health and highlights some ways that people can focus on this essential aspect of well-being.

Key Points

  • While focusing on relationships may feel intimidating to some, it is vitally important.  Decreased loneliness correlates with increased health, and people do better with many health problems if they have people who can support them.
  • Unfortunately, the average number of people a person is connected to has been decreasing in recent decades.
  • There are many forms of social support, such as financial support, mentoring, and emotional support.  All of them are important.
  • Relationships affect us at the level of our physiology, as studies linking relationships and mirror neuron activity, oxytocin levels, and inflammatory markers have shown.
  • Therapeutic relationships between clinicians and patient have a significant impact on outcomes.
  • Examples of ways to enhance connections include practicing compassion, getting support from social workers, volunteering, joining support groups, and becoming more involved in one’s community.

Please see the downloads section for more detailed clinician and patient information.

Disclaimer: This information is for general education. Please work with your health care practitioner to use it in the best way possible to promote your health.