A recent article in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch Newsletter touted the health benefits of strong relationships and the importance of them not only for our well-being but also to enhance longevity.*
The newsletter states that “dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”
It also goes on to say that the “lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality.”
According to the same article, a study which looked at over 309,000 people, identified that for those who lacked satisfying relationships with family friends and community showed an increased risk of premature death from all causes of death by 50%!
This is as astounding figure and further, the study states that this represents a greater threat to an individual’s mortality than obesity, lack of physical activity or smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day!
There are many reasons that strong relationships good produce health benefits.
Having enjoyable, fulfilling companionship with others reduces stress levels which keeps the cortisol levels where they do not adversely impact insulin function, suppress the immune system, clog our arteries or cause digestive complaints and upset.
The newsletter article went on to identify two other studies that (1) linked difficult or negative marital-type relationships for women 40-50 had higher risk for cardiovascular disease than for women who had fulfilling relationships (2) linking poorer health for relationships or families that experienced considerable negativity or hostility.
Also mentioned was a Swedish study of people older than 75 years old. This study showed that dementia risk was lowest for the study participants who had maintained contact satisfying relationships and had a large group of friends and family they enjoyed.
The foundation of all relationships is good communication.
Most people are unaware of how their communications skills, or lack of them adversely affect the quality of their relationships. Working to improve your communication skills may be easier than you imagined.
It only requires desire and a few simple, proven steps to make a big change in the quality of your interactions.
* Source: HWHW Newsletter.