What can we do to feel closer together?




This week’s events has had me feeling a little bewildered; it’s got me thinking about my community.

Is there still such a thing called ‘community’? Do you currently feel part of a community that serves you well?

Having spent the majority of my formative years growing up in Hackney, London I really loved the variety of cultures I was exposed to. The block of flats, well actually the maisonette I grew up in consisted of three floors including the ground floor; where I lived amongst a Bangladesh family, Irish families, a couple of Turkish families, an ever growing Nigerian family (not mine), Caribbean family and everything in between. As children we would often play together, you’d hear laughter throughout, some tears because someone would have fallen out with another over something really small like getting caught out in the game of ‘Had’, but the majority of the time it was happy happy joy joy!

When you’re young I think it’s natural to take friendships for granted; we tend to have so many that we’re never mature enough to nurture them properly which means we can afford to cut them loose if they’re not working for us. I had this one best friend from primary school called Christina who would always fall in and out of friendship with me. One minute we were the best of friends and the next I was her arch enemy. I never really knew why she would suddenly turn on me. It became so frequent that I remember feeling nervous around her and broke down in tears because I didn’t know how to prevent her from turning on me at the drop of a hat. My twin saw and felt the emotional turmoil that this friendship caused me so she stepped in to have words with her in the girls toilets; subsequently that was the end of that friendship and my faith in humanity was quickly restored.

You see as a young child we tend to recover from things quite quickly and if you’re really fortunate there are never any lasting emotional scars; not like the physical ones from falling over after a competitive game of hop-scotch!

Moving forward to adulthood I personally feel the power of having a solid circle of friends as well as a strong family unit around me. A really good friend of mine once said to me….”if you can truly count your genuine friends who would do anything for you if you asked in one hand then you are blessed”.

Who can honestly claim their friendships are as close as that?

There is a theory that we are much closer to our friends and family then ever before. This is fantastic because apparently solid friendship/ relationships hold a key to our health. That’s right a scientific research has been carried out to prove such theory and according to psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie this has been proven. In fact, studies show not staying connected poses similar risks to your health as high blood pressure, obesity and even smoking your friends really do have that much impact. Here are just a few of the key benefits of being close to others:

  • a healthier heart close social contact helps lower blood pressure and overall risk of heart disease.
  • lower risk of cancer one study found women without a strong social and emotional support network were nine times more likely to be diagnosed with a malignant breast tumour during routine screening.
  • better mental health loneliness and social isolation are major risk factors for conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Beattie says: there are probably several interlinking reasons for all this. Lonely people are more likely to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking and excessive drinking. And, lacking the self-esteem boost we get from positive relationships, they may be less motivated to exercise and eat well. In addition, without someone to confide in during difficult times, the lonely may experience a build-up of stress that can have a direct physical impact, even accelerating the ageing process.

So, here we have the household cosmetic brand NIVEA celebrating their Centenary this month and to mark this auspicious occasion the brand are celebrating the closeness of modern Britain by inviting everyone to embrace this spirit of healthy togetherness with a demonstration of how close we’ve become as a society by taking part in NIVEA’S A Million Moments Of Closeness with uploaded photos of you with your best friend, sibling(s), partner or child at NIVEA FACEBOOK.

Alternatively, look out for their roadshows throughout the UK, where you can jump into a photo booth and have your picture instantly uploaded. NIVEA are offering the chance to win one of 100 prizes every day worth £100 for the best photo of the day which will be chosen daily by Professor Beattie. So, get ‘clicking’ and upload those special moments of ‘closeness’ on to their Facebook page (NIVEA) or if you do happen to see their road shows make sure you get them to catch your moment of togetherness!

Happy Smiling Soulful Sunday!!

Geoff Beattie
closer than ever
Feel Closer
million moments of closeness

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One Response to “What can we do to feel closer together?”

  1. Another fantastic article by Ms Olarinmoye. I particularly identified with the section on friends. I’ve been fortunate / lucky to have a best friend for over 30 years ( since I was 5). I am the youngest 7 children but I don’t know where I would be without my best friend. I like to think I’m a better person for having him in my life although sometimes he gets on my last nerve I would not trade our joys and pains for anything.
    Thanks Kehinde for the reminder and I look forward to your next entry.

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