Your Bag (0)



    The Impact of Social Relationships on Longevity

      |  Nov 03, 2022

    When it comes to living a long, healthy life, we know that eating a diet of whole foods and getting plenty of exercise go a long way in keeping us feeling and looking our best.

    The one aspect of longevity that most of us haven’t considered is the importance of our social relationships. Several studies have shown that a robust social life and close relationships are a very important factor in living longer, happier lives.

     According to a clinical review of 148 different studies, our friendships and significant social ties can increase life expectancy by fifty percent! So, we may want to pay attention to that part of our lives and re-connect with friends.  

    Overall, the studies followed more than 300,000 participants over a seven-year period and, surprisingly, found that socioeconomic status, age, health, obesity, sex, and alcohol intake had no bearing on the results of adding healthy years to our lives. That makes a healthy social life an essential part of our plan for longevity.

    Co-author of the study, an associate psychology professor at Brigham Young University, said, referring to the results, “I don’t think a lot of people recognize that our relationships can have a physical impact as well as emotional.”

    “The findings are very exciting and show how important social relationships are for improving survival,” Kira Birditt, an assistant research professor at the University of Michigan, commented.

    An essential aspect of the study notes that the connections that allow us to extend our lives are positive, joyful, and trustworthy. We need to be able to count on those connections to help us through the difficult times and events we experience. It’s not about having more friends; it’s the depth of the friendships that are most important.

    Maintaining Social Connections is a Crucial Element of Successful Aging

    According to Louis Cozolino, a psychology professor at Pepperdine University, studying the field of interpersonal neurobiology, “of all the experiences we need to survive and thrive, it is the experience of relating to others that is the most meaningful and important.” He states that we are wired for connection, not isolation, and the more we can interact, the better for our brains, which is especially true as we age.

    A Changing World

    Due to Covid, we all have a greater understanding of feeling isolated. Some people have experienced a loss of community and purpose as feelings of loneliness became ever present. And it was all beyond our control. For so many of us, it’s been a challenging time. We were unable to see and hug family and friends, and because of it, we realized how vital the power of those relationships has on our well-being. So, with that knowledge, you may be more eager than ever to re-kindle old friendships as well as make new connections and may be wondering how to get back out there. 

    Here Are Some Ideas:

    • Volunteer in the community. There are so many organizations that need assistance, so find one you feel passionate about.

    • Take a class. Community colleges have so many options, and it’s a great way to meet others with the same interests and have some fun.

    • Join a club. These days, we can find a club for any interest. Running clubs, book clubs, bridge clubs, car clubs, and even knitting clubs will allow us to connect with fun people that share our interests.

    • Join the chamber of commerce and start networking with the business community.

    • Take up a new sport. There is nothing like the connections we can make by participating in a sport. The competition is exciting, and the bonding experiences offer lifetime friendships. 

    • Do something you’ve always dreamed about. Write that book, start a business, or change your career to one that has meaning for you. 

    To live healthily and happy, we all need to feel connected. Although we may not have realized how much we needed it before, the world has made it very clear that it’s a vital part of our lives. No matter where you are right now in your life, it’s not too late to develop valued friendships. Remember, good friends can light you up and make life such a fun and enjoyable ride.