When asked what is most important to live long most people think about nutrition, exercise, or maybe sleep. Maybe you are expecting me to say how you breath. (I would put that ahead of the others 😉) But one variable far outranks any of these lifestyle factors.
Your relationships with other people.
In fact, the number and health of your relationships has been proven to be the number one indicator of how soon you could die from ANY cause.
In 2010 a group reviewed 148 studies with over 300,000 participants. They looked at the link between social relationships and one’s health. They found “a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships. This finding remained consistent across age, sex, initial health status, cause of death, and follow-up period.”
This percentage of difference is akin to the mortality rate between a non-smoker and someone who smokes 15 cigarettes a day.
Important takeaways from this study are numerous, but two stick out. Clearly, the first is that we need to focus on our own relationships as the highest priority. These studies show that your health benefits both by having others to lean on during stressful times and by helping others. All relationships are a two way street. You have to give and take for the health benefits too.
Another point to think about is that our diet, workouts, or any other “healthy” activity that can turn into an obsession should never skip ahead of the importance of our friends and family. Not only is it not right, but it is actually worse for your own health.
So today take a break from the norm and spend more time with your family and friends. Get outside and play, have board game night instead of Netflix, or simply block off more time for those you love.