Drink water. Don’t smoke. Exercise regularly.
We know what we have to do to stay healthy; after all, we’re told often enough.
What we’re not told often enough is this: that our friendships and relationships play a prominent role in keeping us happy and healthy, helping to prolong our life.
How, I hear you ask…
Multiple scientific studies have shown that people who engage with their family, friends and community lead happier and healthier lives because such relationships help relieve the harmful levels of stress, which can all adversely affect our immunity, gut health, insulin regulation and heart health.
Relationships For Longer Life
Spanning 7.5 years and following 308,849 individuals, a collaborative study undertaken by academics at Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina revealed that people with strong social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with little to no social connections.
Take a moment to read that again.
A 50% greater likelihood of survival!
These positive effects extend to both the giver and the receiver in relationships. For example, offering help or advice, or even showing affection and appreciation are just as important as receiving these sentiments.
People with strong social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with little to no social lives.
An important factor to consider is the quality of our relationships.
Harvard Medical School’s Heartbeat has pointed to a study which revealed that women in highly unsatisfied marriages have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
A further collaborative study, this time between Umeå University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, followed 1,715 adults older than 65 and found that interactions with a friend or acquaintance just once a week was enough to help decrease the risk of dementia.
People who don’t have access to a supportive network of friends or family are more prone to loneliness, depression and cognitive decline, leading to quicker mortality.
What is most incredible is that we now know that as we age, social isolation has a greater negative impact on our health than than smoking, alcohol or obesity!
So if you only do one thing today, call a friend. Or catch up with a loved one. Perhaps even organise an event on Stitch and meet new people. You could possibly live longer by doing so.
At Stitch, we’re a passionate international community of people all over 50 seeking meaningful relationships and friendships. If you’re a member, we’d love to hear from you about how Stitch has enriched your life.
If you’re not a community member and would love to know more about Stitch or have any questions, feel free to contact us at: [email protected]