4. Be both a giver and a taker.
Aging Well: Page 5
Why it matters: According to a growing body of research, people who are socially connected live longer, maintain better cognitive health, and have overall better mental and physical well-being. Humans are meant to be social animals. "The 'American disease' is isolation," Selhub says. "We live longer and better when we feel important, valid, and valued, and when we feel that we'll be remembered. Living within a community helps us feel that we exist and that we did exist for a reason."
Quality counts as much as quantity in relationships, though. Healthy social connections require intimacy, that true give-and-take in which you can offer some of yourself to others but also receive a sense of love and connectivity from others. "You want interactions that go beyond just playing cards with someone; you want to be able to talk about things in your heart," Robbins says.
What to try: Run through your closest relationships in your mind: Are they strong, nurturing, and in balance -- or do you feel like you're giving too much or receiving too little? Work toward shedding the relationships that clutter your life without giving you much back, or look for ways to reenergize them. Consider all the different types of relationships in your life: friends, parents, siblings, spouse, children, colleagues, sexual partners, even pets.
If you're married, give that connection extra attention. Married people tend to live longer than singletons, happily married couples live longest, and married couples who remain sexually active are most satisfied with their lives overall, according to Small.