The benefits of spending time with family and friends is such a critical component of a full, meaningful life.
The past year has been challenging, on so many fronts. We’ve been spending a lot (A LOT) of time with the people in our households. Interestingly, that is probably the best reason why we should be planning activities either out of the house or special events in the house.
As we continue to have social limitations, it’s so easy to operate on autopilot because, well, it’s easy. But did you know that making special time for unique activities (like painting pottery!) with your family benefits everyone on many levels? What can an afternoon of painting pottery do for your family? Here are some of the top benefits:
Improves Mental Health. Interacting with a close social network—especially face-to-face communication, as opposed to digital—significantly reduces the occurrence of depression, anxiety, and other mental illness. Being physically present with loved ones creates a strong emotional support to buoy you up through life’s challenges.
Helps children perform well academically. On average, kids who spend more time with their parents tend to do better in school. They learn communication skills and the importance of education. When needed, assisting with assignments or new concepts reinforces the fact that their success is important to you. Even just asking about their day and what they’re learning will show your children how much you care.
Lowers risk of behavioral problems. Children who spend more time with their families have shown less risk of behavioral issues, such as violence and substance abuse. When they receive positive attention for positive behaviors, it increases their desire to continue those healthy patterns. Doing activities together also provides an outlet for pent-up emotions that could otherwise lead to unhealthy decisions. If a child (or teenager) feels comfortable bringing problems to you for a listening ear and advice, they will be better equipped to cope with problems and make positive choices.
Boosts self-confidence. Spending time with family builds confidence for all of its members. Parents can teach children to build self-esteem through specific skills such as problem solving and communication. They can also model the ability to love oneself without degrading others. For parents and children, confidence grows simply with the knowledge that they are valued and appreciated by their loved ones.
Helps kids learn future parenting skills. The memories you create together will instill in children a desire to foster that same loving atmosphere in their own future homes. Through your example, your kids learn important caregiving skills that they can use one day. They may even practice now by copying your behaviors when they interact with siblings.
Teaches effective conflict resolution. Being part of a family is fun, but it can be difficult, too. When conflicts arise, you can’t just walk away for good. You’re in this together, so you have to work together to solve the issues that come up. Family time teaches interpersonal communication skills including healthy, constructive ways to discuss, debate, and solve problems.
Reduces stress. Those with healthy relationships tend to seek out healthier coping mechanisms for stress—such as confiding in friends and family—instead of other unhealthy outlets. Establish a habit of talking through problems together to relieve stress and find effective solutions. Stress also significantly affects aspects of physical health, such as fatigue, blood pressure, and heart health. The Annals of Behavioral Medicine conducted a study that found when people discussed hardships in their lives with a friend beside them (instead of alone), they had lowered pulse and blood pressure readings.
Promotes adaptability and resilience. Your ability to face life’s changes and challenges is greatly improved by a strong family bond. Knowing that you belong, you are cared for, and you are needed, provides a sense of meaning and purpose. This assurance gives motivation to push forward, grow, and succeed.
Enhances physical health. With the right kind of activities, time with family can positively impact physical well-being. For instance, families who eat home-cooked meals together tend to have a better diet than those who don’t. Participating in outdoor activities like sports games, hikes, or gardening together helps to improve fitness. There’s even evidence that time with family can boost the effects of exercise and other healthy habits. It improves heart, brain, hormonal, and immune health. And families can encourage one another to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Lengthens life expectancy. Healthy relationships could increase your lifespan up to 50%. Combine all the physical and mental health benefits discussed above, and you can see why family time has been linked to living a longer, healthier, happier life. Even those with unhealthy physical habits, but a strong social network live longer than those without these relationships.
Now it’s time to find your local studio (https://paintyourownpottery.com/), pick out your projects and get creating!