Social isolation [loneliness] is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being an alcoholic, not exercising, and twice as harmful as obesity.
Bottom line: The lack of social support should be added to the short list of risk factors for an early grave.
This analysis comes from scientists at Brigham Young University in Utah. “When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves, and taking fewer risks.” Relationships help buffer negative/stressful events in life, helping us cope during difficult times and celebrating our joys and successes.
The link between living longer and having social connections (friends and family, as well as marriage and children) remained even after the researchers took into account the sex, initial health and cause of death of those in the study. The negatives and positives of relationships are all averaged together.
People who never marry are more likely to die young than those who marry or divorce.
I am always telling people to stay married for the sake of the children. Many either don’t care or discount the impact of divorce on children. If you won’t stay together for the sake of the children, then stay together for yourself – you will live longer!
Human beings need relationships to keep them healthy. We’re not talking about friends of the social-networking variety. These drive-by, so-called friendships lack the depth and texture of real, one-on-one committed caring and caretaking.
So remember that people with greater social relationships are 50 per cent more likely to live longer than those who don’t invest in relationships. And, of course, those social relationships make life more interesting, sweet, touching, and meaningful.