A new study from researchers in Utah found that good social relationships encourage a healthy lifespan, and that maintaining these relationships may be as important to your lifespan as quitting smoking or losing weight! The analysis, which was compiled from 148 other relevant studies covering over 308,000 people, found that people with strong social relationships were 50 percent less likely to die early than those without similar support. In fact, researchers likened poor social relationships to smoking the equivalent of up to 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. Poor social relationships were also found to be more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity.
The study also found that Americans are becoming more isolated with three times as many Americans reporting having no confidant than just 20 years ago. And since loneliness is contagious, this isolation could be the start of future health problems; and the conclusion of the researchers suggested we start to view our social relationships as an important part of our overall health. Spending more time with my girlfriends will help me live longer? Sign me up!