Sunday Good News Story: Loving Someone Can Save your Life... literally

Do you have good friends and loved ones around that care for and about you? Prop you up and encourage you? They could be adding years to your life. A new Brigham Young University study adds our social relationships to the “short list” of factors that predict a person’s odds of living or dying.

In the journal PLoS Medicine, BYU professors Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith report that social connections – friends, family, neighbors or colleagues – improve odds of survival by 50%. [FIFTY percent, that's something to consider!]

The benefit of healthy social relationships, the study says, is greater than from regular exercise and akin to quitting smoking (for those who puff 15 cigarettes a day). Professor Holt-Lunstad talks about the study here:

On the flip side, those with low and/or poor social interaction are putting themselves at risk. Here is how lack of a supportive social network compares to more well-known risk factors:
  • Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • Equivalent to being an alcoholic
  • More harmful than not exercising
  • Twice as harmful as obesity
So basically, if you don't have friends, family, or co-workers who care about you and you care back - you're as good as dead?! Le Damn!

Professor Smith said that modern conveniences and technology [read Facebook/ Twitter/ texting/ IMing] can lead some people to think that social networks aren’t necessary.
“We take relationships for granted as humans – we’re like fish that don’t notice the water,” Smith said. “That constant interaction is not only beneficial psychologically but directly to our physical health.”
For one, this proves my oft-made point about people who will contact you via technology and not in "real life." You texting people who cannot pick up a phone are literally killing me according to this study! Secondly, get off the blog and go hug somebody who will hug you back. Happy Sunday.