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One Secret for Midlife Well-Being

March '13

 I suspect you may already know this secret for well-being at midlife. Research about our personal welfare often validates what we understand intuitively. A recent study conducted by Dr. Noriko Cable, a senior research fellow at University College, London, seems to do just that.

The abstract of her article in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, reads, “Having a smaller friendship network at age 45 was associated with poorer psychological well-being among adults at age 50, over and above socio-demographic factors and previous psychological health.”

Or in more personal language, Dr. Cable tells us, “Having more friends with whom we actually meet is important to our mental health,” Cable adds. “Not having friends at all is bad for our mental health. We need to treasure friends that we have.”

So cherish those friends of yours, and spend time with them. “More easily said than done,” you might reasonably reply. The middle years bring major demands on your already busy life. Perhaps you’re caught between taking care of a sick child and an aging parent. Or just when you completed that last project successfully at work and expected to finally get home at a reasonable hour, your boss announces a new venture for your department. Or you may even be dealing with the devastating aftermath of a hurricane or fire.

But for your own well-being, do find a way to be with your friends. It’s good for you! Even the research tells us this is so. Maybe you can rustle up a buddy for that early morning run of yours, or book a spa day with that old college friend, or set up a mother-daughter book club. Women can always find ways to get together. When females were not allowed in colleges during the nineteenth century, they created book clubs where they could gather together for interesting conversations. So what method will you invent to spend more time with your friends and maybe even accomplish other goals at the same time?

I’d love to hear how you go about developing this opportunity to improve your midlife mental health.

Happy Spring!






  1. Roberta Taylor said on March 29, 2013:

    Hi Bonnie,

    Widowhood has reinforced my knowledge that it is important to not only have old friends, but to make new ones. My advice is don’t wait for others to make overtures. Reach out – go to dinner, invite people to your home, build a support system for yourself – whatever stage in life you find yourself.

  2. Bonnie said on March 29, 2013:

    Wonderful advice, Roberta!

    Thank you,

  3. Jean McLevedge said on March 29, 2013:

    Dear Bonnie,

    Thank you for your thoughtful mailings. This one reinforces a theme that the NYT has mentioned, as well as Dean Ornish and the wellness community. Social interaction is essential to keeping the mind limber.

  4. Bonnie said on March 29, 2013:

    Hi Jean!

    Thanks for this info – and who doesn’t want to keep her mind limber?


  5. Helga said on April 9, 2013:

    Excellent article,m often very much part of a marriage between spouses.
    Bonnie, is it possible to you use article on my website given you full credit of course and with a brief introductory note from me? I, too, am working with the miracles of midlife transitions. Thank you, Helga

  6. Bonnie said on April 9, 2013:

    Hi Helga!

    I’d be delighted to have you share this article!

    Thank you,

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