I came across an interesting article from Canada about the health-enhancing benefits of having good friends and social interaction.
“Those surrounded by a tight-knit group of friends who regularly gather to eat—and, crucially, gossip—live an average of 15 years longer than loners. Quality face-to-face contact is essential for a social species, writes psychologist Susan Pinker, citing research that shows it fortifies immune systems, calibrates hormones and increases chances of surviving heart attacks, strokes, AIDS and cancer.
“People with the most integrated social lives—overlapping relationships among friends, family, sports and other recreational or religious pursuits—have the best prognoses,” with the most life-threatening diseases.
It’s true even with dementia: A 2004 Swedish study found its lowest prevalence among those with the most extensive social networks.” (See full article here.)
Sadly, as the article points out, knowing and interacting with those closest to us is fading due to many factors in our society. The good news is that we can do something about that. It’s never too late to get to know your neighbors and carve out time for friends. I don’t enjoy large groups of people, but love to have coffee with friends one on one. These are the best kind of social networks, the ones where there are real faces across the table. I’m spending time that way more and more these days, and I love it! The side benefit is that it really is good for my health. (That’s me and Amy Spreeman of Stand Up for the Truth Radio, a recent coffee partner.)