This Study of 300,000 People Reveals the 1 Secret to Living a Longer, Healthier Life
It's not supplements or a certain diet or a fancy exercise plan that leads to a healthier life.
Instead, it's something we all can use:
Want to live longer?
Make close friends
-- because research shows that friends can affect your health even more than family.
The 2005 Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging found that close relationships with children and other relatives had very little impact on how long you live,
but people with the most friends tended to outlive those with the fewest by 22 percent.
Better yet, a clinical review of nearly 150 studies found that people with strong social ties had a 50 percent better chance of survival, regardless of age, sex, health status, and cause of death, than those with weaker ties.
(The conclusion was based on information about more than 300,000 individuals who were followed for an average of 7.5 years.)
In fact, according to the researchers, the health risk of having few friends was similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more dangerous than being obese or not exercising in terms of decreasing your lifespan.
Keep in mind that means real friends.
Not Facebook friends or Twitter followers.
Not the guy in the office down the hall that you like to exchange Spinal Tap quotes with.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.)
So do this. Take a second and list your friends.
Then think about whether the people you jotted down would include you on their lists of friends.
Think you'll be on all those lists? Probably not.
In fact, only about half the time will the people you consider to be your friends consider you to be a friend.
(And of course that also means that only about half the time do you consider someone who thinks of you as a friend to be your friend.)
There are lots of possible reasons.
One is that your definition of "friend" may differ from other people's.
And regardless of how you define "friend," according to Robin Dunbar you don't have the time to have dozens of friends.
Because of that, Dunbar feels we have different layers or slices of friends:
One or two truly best friends (like your significant other and maybe one other person),
then maybe 10 people with whom we have "great affinity" and interact with frequently,
and then all sorts of other people we're friendly with but who aren't actually friends.
In total, Dunbar's Number says you can have about 150 people in your social sphere.
All of which means "friendly" and "friend" are two very different things.
And that means, if Dunbar is correct, that you can only have a handful of true friends.
That means some people you think of a close friends don't see you that way at all.
So why -- apart from making you and I wonder how people really feel about us -- does this matter?
Superficial, distant, and less than meaningful relationships can lead to feelings of insecurity and loneliness, which can increase your risk of illness and death just as much as obesity, alcoholism, and smoking.
That means the key isn't to have more friends.
The key isn't to try to have a tons of friends.
The key is to have three or four really, really good friends, and then, of course, plenty of people who aren't necessarily friends but are fun to be around, or result in a mutually beneficial relationship, or share common interests. You don't need to be less friendly. You just need to nurture the most important relationships in your life.
What's the easiest way to do that?
Think about what you can do that will help the people closest to you be happier, and then do it.
You care about your casual friends, but with casual friends, "care" is a noun.
Real friends see "care" as a verb. They act on their feelings.
They step in, step up, and sometimes step outside their comfort zone to do something selfless, just because they can.
If you want to have closer friends, make "care" a verb.
And if you don't know how, ask -- because real friends ask.
11 Tiny Ways to Inject Hope into Your Day
It’s all around us! We just have to recognize it.
By Amy Shearn
Hope doesn’t mean you’re ignoring all the horrible things out there in the world.
Hope means you’re finding a way to keep functioning in your life, which might even make you better-equipped to help make things ever-so-slightly better.
The next time you begin to spiral down, try one of these perspective-changing strategies.
Reread your favorite uplifting novel from when you were a kid.
I’m telling you, there are few moods a couple of hours with Anne of Green Gables (or something like that) can’t soothe.
The sincerity, the earnestness, the simplicity.
The belief that all problems are fixable with the right attitude—remember how Anne wins over countless curmudgeonly adults with her optimism?
No matter what kind of book you’re reading, things are generally solved by the end of it—that’s how plots work, after all.
It’s a good reminder that things do, eventually, get better.
Browse through these beautiful oil paintings of junk food.
It’s like having a really good snack but zero calories or greasy tummy ache.
Review your circles.
“circle of control, circle of concern!”
whenever I’m overwhelmed by the world, it works.
Popularized by Stephen Covey (the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People guy), the concept behind the circles has been in existence since the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece.
The idea is to think about what concerns you—which is probably, if you’re a sentient human, a lot of big stuff, from war overseas to the melting ice caps.
Inside of that circle is the circle of influence,
or the stuff you can maybe kind of do something about—
the local school board elections
The rummage sale at your church.
And then, inside of that, is the circle of control.
This is the stuff you actually are in charge of.
How you live your life.
How you treat the people around you.
How you show up at work, at school, in your family, with your friends.
This is the only stuff you really, really have control over.
So if you’re feeling despair about something ginormous that you can’t really change,
remind yourself that your feelings are valid, but that this isn’t an area to obsess over.
What do you actually have control over? Focus there.
Draw a tree.
Everyone can grow and change and learn new skills and hone their appreciation for the wonder of the natural world.
Even people who can’t draw. Promise.
Talk to a kid about their favorite animal facts.
Seriously, for some mysterious reason, elementary-age children seem to all have countless amazing bits of animal trivia at their fingertips.
Did you know the oldest cat ever was named Creme Puff and lived to be 38?
It’s not that it’s the next generation’s job to cheer us up about the world (yikes!),
but it’s a relief to remember that every once in a while, the kids are alright.
Update your phone’s operating system.
I know that sounds boring, but it’s always fun to have new emojis and increased capabilities, and on iOS 16, you can unsend texts.
Great news for those terribly awkward moments when you realize you’ve sent your parent something you meant to send your partner.
Look, we’re all making mistakes and correcting them and getting better all the time
—it’s true of operating systems, and it’s true of us clumsy humans, too.
Take a nap.
Yes, it’s advice your mother would give you, but you know what?
Mothers know what they are talking about.
Everything seems more dire when you’re worn out.
Here are my personal rules for a perfect nap:
First, drink coffee (I know! Just trust me, it’s a thing).
Then, open window shades and curtains—as cats and dogs know, sunbeams make for quality naps.
Play some relaxing music, get on top of your covers with a special napping blanket (under-the-cover-naps are only for the feverish), and nap for 20 minutes.
I’m willing to bet you’ll wake up better able to put things in perspective.
Microdose a little awe.
Moonwalk through the awe-inspiring images from the James Webb telescope.
There is something bigger out there.
Call or write to your representatives, local or national, and urge them to fight for the environment.
I know this is one of those huge things that seem unsolvable and hopeless, but it’s literally not:
The UN has found that the world’s air pollution could be rapidly cleaned up if enough governments adopted theWHO’s air quality guidelines.
That’s good to hear, right? It’s really not too late—it almost never is.
And taking some small step toward action can really aerate your mood.
Pile on topping.
Just as it did in the '90s, fro-yo still works.
I let the kids pile their blobs with chocolate chunks, marshmallows, peanut butter cups, sprinkles, coconut shavings, butterscotch chips, and other tooth-curdling confections.
The frozen yogurt still tastes like, mostly, nothing. But with a pile of crazy toppings?
It’s a masterpiece. Just like life.
Ask a friend to text you a picture of something that’s making them happy these days.
People love to have an excuse to share about their kids/new lover/houseplant win/exercise routine/bearded dragon, and it’s legitimately cheering to hear about this sort of thing.
Take it from me, someone who just got texted a photo essay about the dumbest but cutest household chickens in all of Iowa.
so with that, We hope you have a wonderful week!
Be Kind, Do fearless!