Last week we talked about the importance of conversation. Did you discover something new about yourself or a loved one? Did your conversation spark a new creative idea? If not, this next step will give you another opportunity to fine tune those skills.

“Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up.” This is the next step on the path to happiness. The holidays may have brought back memories of friends with whom you have lost touch. This is the perfect opportunity for you to rekindle those friendships.

Reconnecting with your friends not only helps you to live a happier life, but a healthier and longer one too. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of companionship. One Harvard study found that men with strong social ties had an 82% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Social support lowers your blood pressure and triggers your body reduce its production of stress hormones.

In regard to longevity, another study at Harvard followed almost 3,000 seniors over a 13 year period. They found that social activity was as important to their survival as regular exercise. Time spent with friends is also linked to better cognitive function as we age.

The simple fact is that with a busy schedule you will never find the time to see your friends – you must make the time. Don’t wait to be invited to go out. This week dig out your old phone book and call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Arrange to meet for lunch or a visit to a museum. Have them over for tea. Chances are your friend will be thrilled to hear from you.

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