As we get older, busier with kids, work, spouse and everything that in tales being an “adult”, we put our friendships on the back burner, not realizing the importance to our well being of having close friends in our lives, who we can count on and they us as well.
We literally starve our friendships to death by not giving them the attention and time they need to flourish
A 2010 meta-analysis reviewed 148 studies involving more than 300,000 participants and concluded that having weak social ties was as harmful to health as being an alcoholic and twice as harmful as obesity. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, co-author of the analysis, told Reuters, “A lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”
A more recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a biological response to loneliness that triggers disease. According to the researchers, social isolation sets off a cellular chain reaction that increases inflammation and suppresses the body’s immune response.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence that friendships affect longevity comes from the ongoing Harvard Study of Adult Development. Since 1938, researchers have been following 724 men, tracking their physical health as well as social habits. Robert Waldinger, the study’s current director, said in his recent TED Talk, “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” Socially disconnected people are, according to Waldinger, “less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”
Taking all this information to account, I know I will make more of an effort to nourish my friendships, will you?
Thankful, Grateful & Blessed!