Page 58

INVEST IN THE RELATIONSHIPS AROUND YOU, AND YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF HAPPIER AND MORE DRAWN TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LIVE.

left to right: Abby Jarvis, Dave Walter, Sean Hults, Tara Campbell, Elizabeth Hults

I love our downtown Lakeland motto, “Rich Traditions, Artful Energy,” and I would include our community as one of the greatest pieces of art Lakeland has to offer. While Lakeland, like all cities, certainly has its struggles, we have refined the art of community. Lakelanders know how to share life together, to support each other, and how to come together as a community for the common good. Lakeland isn’t the perfect city, but it is our city. When it comes to loving where you live, half the battle is claiming your city as your own and investing your heart in it. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of community goes on to say that it is, “joint ownership or liability,” which means it’s a two-way street. I have heard it said that if you want to be interesting, be interested. And while that is a great maxim for relationships, it also applies to the place you call home. If you begin to get interested in

58

THE LAKELANDER

the community that is available in Lakeland, Lakeland in turn will become an exciting and interesting place for you to live. According to a 2010 study that tracked more than 300,000 people for an average of 7.5 years, “Individuals with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with poor or insufficient social relationships.” Social relationships were found to be just as important to longevity as quitting smoking. Social relationships have a more intense effect on health than avoiding obesity. Although we live in a hyper-connected society, our connectivity doesn’t necessarily mean that we are a part of a life-giving community. Researchers suggest that, “despite increases in technology and globalization that would presumably foster social connections, people are becoming increasingly more socially isolated.”

Even though the quantity of our social “connections” may be increasing, the quality of them, unfortunately, seems to be decreasing. People, for the most part, take risk factors such as smoking, diet, and exercise seriously. It’s time we added community and social relationship factors to that list. If we want to have good relationships, we need to foster a positive attitude. One thing that has been found to increase mood, outlook, and mental health is sunshine. With Lakeland coming in well above the national average for days of sunlight each year, you have another factor working in your favor! In Lakeland, there’s no reason to be isolated; it’s full of opportunities for community. Invest in the relationships around you, and you will find yourself happier and more drawn to the place where you live. And, as a bonus, you just might add a few years to your life.

The Lakelander - THE GEORGE EFFECT | September - October 2014  

THE GRATITUDE EFFECT / LEGACY OF GIVING / MR. GEORGE'S FAVORITE MEAL / FOSTERING INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE / LAKELAND NEON