Living a long life is a topic most of us are dying to know more about. And yes, that was a terrible pun. Put another way, what keeps us from dying?
That’s question recently was answered in a fifteen-minute TED Talk I think is worth sharing. Who doesn’t love a short video answer to one of life’s most important questions.
To make it even simpler, here’s a chart showing what keeps us alive ranked by the most to least important predictors of long life.
Susan Pinker, a developmental psychologist, national columnist and author of the book, The Village Effect, was summarizing an extensive study conducted by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a researcher at Brigham Young. Susan explained the crux of the study with this chart in a fascinating TED Talk that can be found here. https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_pinker_the_secret_to_living_longer_may_be_your_social_life/
Susan’s greatest surprise in the study was the top two predictors of long life, close relationships and social integration. For decades I have had a great need for close relationships. I talked about ways we can make new friends in my last Blog, Retirement Friends, are they silver or gold? It’s good to know the role close friends can play in living long. It’s startling to think they out rank quitting smoking in importance.
Now that we know, should we make the extra effort to maintain our close relationships or step out and make some?
The number one predictor, social integration, is one we may never have considered. I didn’t. It’s the conversations we have without much thought. The greetings to the mailman, chit chat at the grocery checkout, banter at the poker table, weather talk at the gas station. Who would of thunk it?
If we haven’t been chatting away with the people we meet each day, we may want to start now. We can find this “social integration” just about everywhere. Just leave the house and opportunities abound.
If you want to know more about how to live a long life, the article below has more details. And it’s a good reminder that a cheery, “Good Morning” to the neighbor may be adding more mornings to our lives.