Talkin’ Bout my Best Friend(s)
The fact that you are taking time out of your day to read Start Somewhere Wellness indicates that you care about your health and well being.
You are likely committed to taking good care of yourself.
So often, we think that health is all about exercise, eating nutrient-dense food, and restorative sleep. But the truth is, it is much, much more. Quality social connections are just as critical to health and a lack of social connectedness is just as detrimental to physical and mental health as obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.
The area of social connection has been studied extensively and consistently show the increased risk of death among people with low quantity and/or low quality relationships.
Quality research starts with people who have similar baseline health and then explore their relationships. Scientists have also found that social isolation is a major risk factor for death from varying causes. I’ve seen it at my “front row seat of life” among a few of my dental patients.
People who isolate themselves for one reason or another are generally not as healthy as those who intentionally seek relationship.
On the positive side, people who have strong social connections:
Have a stronger immune system because the same genes that are impacted by loneliness also code for inflammation and immune function, according to research by Stephen Cole.
Enjoy an increased chance of longevity
Recover faster from disease and surgery
Suffer less from anxiety and depression
Have higher self-esteem
Possess greater empathy for other people
Are more trusting and cooperative
Have better emotional regulation
Bottom line, quality social connections can not only enhance your health span, the number of good years that you have, but they also can increase your lifespan. It’s a positive feedback loop — social connectedness makes you feel better in every way and when you feel better, you have more energy for relationships.
Regrettably, it goes the other way too. Research shows that those who lack relationships suffer from more rapidly declining physical and emotional health which leads to more social isolation.
The great news is that it has more to do with how you feel about your level of social activity rather than your actual number of friends or relatives.
You can be surrounded with people or have thousands of friends on social media and still feel low in connection. Being “lonely in a crowd” is a dangerous thing! You have to have just enough people in your life that add meaning for you.
START SOMEWHERE adding more movement to your day, eating more whole food, getting restorative sleep and finding real people to connect with. You can do it. I will help you!