Are social relationships good for our health? It’s a great question and one that was asked of me recently – and the answer is absolutely yes! We know that loneliness is one of the biggest causes of preventable death, alongside stress and other causes. But with loneliness we’re increasingly recognising that it has a significant effect on our overall health and our mortality – how long we live.
I want to quote a book that I’ve mentioned before by Dan Buettner, it’s called The Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are seven or eight parts of the world that have the highest proportion of centenarians in the world. People are living longer in these places than anywhere else, and Dan distilled it down to about nine different things that these people were doing – one of them was that they had very strong social connections.
They had family and friends around them, and made an effort to see these people – so they never felt alone or lonely. The consequence of that amongst other things like lots of movement, eating fresh homegrown vegetables, drinking red wine that was made by themselves or very local to them (but in small amounts), and a handful of other things contributed to the extraordinary health span that they had. But social connections and bonding were a very key part of that. It all plays into self-esteem but also your feelings of connecting and just being human because that is largely what it’s all about – it’s the connections that we form. If you haven’t already thought about this, give it some thought.
Do you ever feel lonely? Be really honest with yourself. Can you join more clubs? Can you connect with more like-minded people? Can you make more of an effort to go out and mix even when you might not want to do it? The impact on your health is really quite extraordinary.
I urge you to have a look and see what else you can do, and also look at the quality of your current connections. Are these people really your tribe? Are they people that inspire you and light you up and you get excited about?
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If you’re reading this, you’re are probably in a reasonably senior position, running your own business or have a busy life running the home and juggling other responsibilities. Either way, you’re busy. The convergent pressures of work and family life have probably meant that the time you did have to spend on health and fitness has disappeared. Why not talk to us and see how we can help.
Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in our services and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.