This week’s class was the second installment of a four-part pilot series called, Refocusing Your Relationships. It was one of the best days ever. My colleague and I were presenting at a retirement living facility. There were 25 residents who were excited to be with us again and share what they were learning. We started the first class with an icebreaker, introductions and the participants outlining their expectations for the seminar. They wanted to: “Go deeper in relationships without being nosey.” “Become a better person.” “Be more intuitive with their neighbors.” “Enjoy their relationships more.” “Get beyond, ‘How are you?.’” “Be a lifelong learner.”
We then outlined different personality prototypes and had them explore their personality style. There was laughter, affirmations, good natured teasing, and leaning into this new discovery about themselves and others. The discussion about the application of how learning one’s personality effects how we understand ourselves and others was rich and robust.
This week’s lesson was about exploring one’s passion and purpose. What lights you up? What do you get lost in? What gives you energy? There were 20 similar questions. The group was excited to talk about each one of them. My colleague and I agreed that this group was lit up, devoted to this topic, so much so, we could not move on to the next activity. We were giddy with the high level of participation and engagement!
Why would the Center for Relationship Education be asked to do this kind of workshop with those living in a retirement residential center? The conventional wisdom of staying young is plenty of exercise, healthy food, positive attitude or the luck of one’s genetic code. There is a lot of analysis about what the secret is to aging well. Louis Cozolino, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University, had another theory. In his book Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity, he emphasizes the positive impact of human relationships.
“Of all the experiences we need to survive and thrive, it is the experience of relating to others that is the most meaningful and important,” he writes. His thinking grows out of the relatively new field of interpersonal neurobiology, based on the recognition that humans are best understood not in isolation, but in the context of their connections with others. Our brains, are social organs, meaning that we are wired to connect with each other and to interact in groups. A life that maximizes social interaction and human-to-human contact is good for the brain at every stage, particularly for the aging brain. Due to many studies on aging, we now know that people who have more social support tend to have better mental health, cardiovascular health, immunological functioning and cognitive performance. Relationship education is essential for children and adults.
We have two more sessions with this high energy group of seniors. They are asking to extend the classes. How delightful it is for us, as relationship educators, to be with a group of people who are so excited to learn. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.myrelationshipcenter.org.
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