Growing up is a natural part of our life and something that we have no control of. As we grow older, we are bombarded with more responsibilities. Once we start our own family, then that’s all we can ever think of. Of course our parents are always there at the back of our minds but our busy schedule keeps us away from them. While both parents play major roles in everyone’s life, mother’s are vital for our development. They are always there for us through thick and thin. Our busy schedules are typically understandable to them, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore them completely. Studies show that spending time with your mom has benefits, more crucial than we ever imagined.
Spending time with your mom and other elderly relatives is even more crucial than you may have already realized.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco conducted a study on loneliness and old age to determine whether it plays any role. The study was conducted on 1,600 adults, with an average age of 71. Despite their health related illnesses, researchers discovered that loneliness had a bigger impact on them, which was leading to higher mortality rates. Of the 1,600 participants, 23% of them who had no companionship, passed away within a period of six years. 14% of the subjects reported adequate companionship and showed a longer life span than the ones with no companions.
The study showed that mothers and other elderly relatives who received the proper amount of companionship from their younger counterparts, lived longer than the other participants. Another study, from the Public Library of Science, reported that elderly people who don’t have enough social interaction are twice as likely to have a shorter lifespan. To put things in perspective, the increased mortality risk is comparable to that of smoking. Loneliness is approximately twice as dangerous as obesity.
No matter how old, loneliness can take a toll on everyone.
Relationships play an important role in our lives. When we have someone to address our issues and share our emotions with, it relieves stress and makes us feel loved. As a person ages and the less interaction they have with their friends and family members, the more their mental health starts to deteriorate. Participants who were 60 years old and older were more at risk of experiencing health decline due to loneliness.
Two studies carried out on 5th and 6th graders showed that those who had a secure relationship with their mother were more accepted by their peers, had more reciprocated friendships, were more responsive and less critical in conversation, and felt less lonely than those who had an insecure relationship with their mother.
While having a positive relationship with your parent at all times is not realistic, it is important to have good moments and positive interactions.
Studies also show that the relationship of parents with their adult children is as important as when they were young. Those who have little or no contact reported that a negative experience can lead to a stressful encounter, stressful thoughts, and irritation. At the same time, those who talked to their moms on a regular basis and addressed each others issues felt relieved and had a more positive outlook on their lives.
Research shows that even if it’s just over the phone, talking to your mother and hearing her voice is enough to calm frayed nerves. A team of American researchers looked at the role of oxytocin, a hormone involved with attraction, trust and confidence. Also known as the ‘cuddle chemical’, scientists discovered that when we talk to our mom, our bodies release the hormone, which is why most of us feel a calming effect. Researchers conducted the study on a group of participants who were asked to give a speech in front of strangers and then solve math problems in front a panel of judges.
After raising the levels of cortisol – a hormone associated with stress – soaring, half of the participants were asked to call their mom and talk to them while the other half was given a film to watch. Researchers then recorded their brain activity and observed that those who talked to their mothers relaxed at a faster rate since their bodies started producing oxytocin immediately. According to Leslie Seltzer, one of the researchers:
“It was understood that oxytocin release in the context of social bonding usually required physical contact. But it’s clear from these results that a mother’s voice can have the same effect as a hug.”
Spending quality time with your mom is good for her and for you too.
Inviting your mom or older relatives to your homes is important since it shows a sign of trust and love. Our homes are our sacred place and we don’t allow strangers to come into our safe space but when we invite our mom, it shows them that we care and trust them. Also, eating meals with them holds more meaning and joy. It strengthens relationships and social stimulation can improve brain health. Eating with the elderly also promotes positive health benefits and reduce instances of depression.
Share a laugh and enjoy the time you spend with your mom. While they get the companionship and conversation so crucial to every day life, we get their stories, their hugs and, secret recipes.