Yes, you read that title correctly. A recent study shows that relationships improve your odds of survival by a whopping 50%. The data comes from a study of 308,849 individuals, followed for an average of 7.5 years. Metaphorically speaking, that’s just as important as the items you choose to include in your emergency survival kits.
Of course, most of us can relate to our own families, but relationships are not limited to family ties. They extend to friends, colleagues, neighbors and members of our communities. Professor Holt-Lunstad, one of the authors of the study, says “when someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks.”
To help illustrate the impact of the findings, the study listed these examples of how low social interaction compares to more commonly known risk factors:
- Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
- Equivalent to being an alcoholic
- Twice as harmful as obesity
So what does this all mean for my family and I?
Reaching out and socializing more often with friends, neighbors and community members gives us:
- more purpose to live
- a larger physical support system when emergencies strike
- a stronger emotional support system in the aftermath of a disaster
So, invite your close extended family members over for dinner more often, say “hi” to that quiet neighbor across the way, and introduce yourself to another parent on your child’s soccer team. You just might live longer. And you’ll be thankful for the extra helping hands when you’re faced with an emergency.