Be sociable to live longer than loners

Happy circle

Be sociable to live longer than loners

The survey, by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina, found that people with friends, family and community involvement were 50 per cent less likely to die early than those with no social life.

Socially connected people live an average of 3.7 years longer, according to the report which claimed the impact of friends was comparable to the effects of quitting smoking. Loners with little social support, according to the study, have a mortality rate as high as alcoholics, and even higher than those affected by obesity or physical inactivity, the Daily Mail reported.

Making life easier

Bert Uchino, a psychology professor at the University of Utah and the man behind the research, said: “Friends and supportive people can make life easier on a basic, everyday level. They can lend you money, offer lifts or provide baby-sitting. They can also encourage you to have better health practices, see a doctor, exercise more.

“They may also help you indirectly by making you feel you have something to live for.” He said the emotional support people receive from friends and loved ones “can help you think about problems in ways that decrease their perceived severity or even make them non-problems”.

“By having a secure relationship and feeling loved, people live much more secure, calm lives,” he added. The research showed that the link between death and loneliness applied to men and women of all ages, regardless of their initial health condition. For their study, the researchers analysed data from 148 studies over three decades and involving more than 3,00,000 people.

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