How to Live Longer: The Scientifically Proven Way

We all know that we need to eat well and exercise to stay healthy. The importance of mental health is also more widely recognized than ever before. Taking care of your body and mind is essential to ensuring you live a long and happy life.

But did you know that your social life can have a huge impact on your health also? Who you choose to spend your time with and the kind of relationships (positive, close, supportive, strained, negative etc.) you have with those people can contribute to your well being or can be detrimental to it.

 

Positive relationships can increase longevity.

 

There is a large body of epidemiological evidence that supports the idea that both the quantity and the quality of relationships is directly and indirectly related to longevity. Positive relationships are related to lower risks of disease, and particular evidence suggests a reduced rate of cardiovascular and cancer mortalities too. So having close, supportive relationships with both family and friends means you’re less likely to get sick or unwell.

 

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The evidence regularly supports the association between having a positive social circle and the behavioral factors that alter genetic risks associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes/metabolic syndrome, obesity, and hypertension. Basically, hanging out with people who make you feel like you can be yourself is a great example of epigenetics in action, helping you avoid some pretty serious health issues.

 

Your Friends are Your Fountain of Youth

 

The research on positive well-being and mortality has found that positive moods such as joy and happiness, life satisfaction, hopefulness, optimism, and sense of humor are all associated with reduced risk of mortality and even predict longevity. Spending time with friends and family who make you feel good can actually help you live longer! And why wouldn’t you want to with friends like that?

Not only can social wellbeing help you live longer, but it may also increase your chance of overcoming illness. Studies on patients with cancer or HIV have found that positive moods help survival rates. So if you do get sick, surrounding yourself with loved ones who are supportive and make you feel good, will help your recovery.

 

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Whether it’s about positive relationships being related to positive behaviors and actions that lead to good health, or that health and happiness is related to seeking and properly managing positive relationship, the overwhelming evidence points to a clear link between health and longevity, and having a good marriage, supportive friends, a loving family or caring neighbors.

This is why ph360 incorporates suggestions for your ideal social environment and emphasizes the need to promote healthy positive relationships as part of its holistic approach to health, wellbeing and longevity. We all need people in our lives. Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving individuals with whom you can grow nurturing relationships will only have a positive effect on both your health and theirs.

 

References

Uchino, Bert N., et al. “The social neuroscience of relationships.” Social neuroscience: Integrating biological and psychological explanations of social behavior (2007): 474.

Henderson, Gregor. “Public health approaches to social isolation and loneliness: a health and wellbeing directorate seminar.” London: Public Health England (2013).

Harmon-Jones, Eddie, and Piotr Winkielman, eds. Social neuroscience: Integrating biological and psychological explanations of social behavior. Guilford Press, 2007.

Diener, Ed, and Micaela Y. Chan. “Happy people live longer: Subjective well‐being contributes to health and longevity.” Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being 3.1 (2011): 1-43.

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, Wendy Birmingham, and Brandon Q. Jones. “Is there something unique about marriage? The relative impact of marital status, relationship quality, and network social support on ambulatory blood pressure and mental health.” Annals of behavioral medicine 35.2 (2008): 239-244.

Schulz-Aellen, M-F. Aging and human longevity. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

Ford, Earl S., Indu B. Ahluwalia, and Deborah A. Galuska. “Social relationships and cardiovascular disease risk factors: findings from the third national health and nutrition examination survey.” Preventive Medicine 30.2 (2000): 83-92.

Joseph, Philip G., Guillaume Pare, and Sonia S. Anand. “Exploring gene-environment relationships in cardiovascular disease.” Canadian Journal of Cardiology 29.1 (2013): 37-45.

Shumaker, Sally A., and Susan M. Czajkowski, eds. Social support and cardiovascular disease. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

Uchino, Bert N. “Social support and health: a review of physiological processes potentially underlying links to disease outcomes.” Journal of behavioral medicine 29.4 (2006): 377-387.

Kroenke, Candyce H., et al. “Social networks, social support mechanisms, and quality of life after breast cancer diagnosis.” Breast cancer research and treatment 139.2 (2013): 515-527.

Cohen, Sheldon. “Social relationships and health.” American psychologist 59.8 (2004): 676.

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