I’m not sure if I want to live a long life, but I do know that I want to live a good one. According to an article I recently read in Men’s Journal Magazine, “Nearly all the research into healthy aging has found that the key to a long, happy life is not diet or exercise but strong social connections or friendships. Loneliness accelerates age related declines in cognition and motor function, while a single good friend has been shown to make as much as a 10-year difference in overall life expectancy.”
That isn’t surprising to me, but it is interesting. The article goes on the say that men have greater difficulties in creating and maintaining friendships than women. Although, if I can draw from my experiences and those of others I know, while we women seem have very little problems with creating friendships, sometimes we have serious problems in maintaining them. Some say that it’s because we are too jealous-hearted, petty, or catty. If you watch reality TV that’s very easy to believe. Women on those shows are full of drama and always fighting. They were friends or at least friendly toward one another at the beginning of the season and by the end they can’t stand one another. Even in my own life, I’ve realized that when women have problems with one another instead of talking in out we often just stop talking to one another. Often, it’s over something quite silly. Years of friendship down the drain over a misunderstanding or hurt feelings. It’s quite sad, if you ask me. We must do better ladies simply for the sake of living well into our 90’s, if nothing else. (-:
The article also says that, “Loneliness is just as harmful as not exercising, smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and alcoholism, and fully twice as bad as being obese….Isolated people tend to exercise less, eat poorly, and drink too much.” One study found that loneliness in and of itself is a killer, “Lonely people have chronically elevated levels of stress and fear hormones cortisol and epinephrine .” Wow! I have to get more friends…FAST.
I for one am happy to know that the fountain of youth has always been as close as our BFFs. We can spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, Botox, anti-aging creams and medical procedures designed to help us look and feel younger but if we really want to maintain the kid in us we simply need to develop meaningful friendships with one another. Although, I’m sure none of that will matter if we don’t maintain proper diet and exercise, but I can truly see how happiness can play a part in longevity. So, next time you look in the mirror and notice an extra wrinkle or another gray hair instead of going to your favorite drug store or make up counter and buying another product, call your BFF and invite her to lunch. Better yet, grab your favorite beverage and toast to the two of you while you revel in the beauty of friendship.