A Good Social Relationship Will Keep You Healthy


Good Social Relationship for HealthHaving good social relationships – such as with friends, marriage, or child – is as good for maintaining health, as well as quitting smoking, losing weight, or even taking medication. This is the result of a research in the United States two weeks ago.

People with strong social relationships will have 50 percent more life expectancy, compared to those without the support of this relationship. This is the conclusion of the findings by the team from Brigham Young University in Utah. “The bad effects of social relationships is the same with inhaling 15 cigarettes per day,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist who led the study.

Tim Holt-Lunstad conduct an analysis of numerous studies on the effects of social relationships on health. They analyzed 148 studies of more than 308 thousand people whose lives are followed for an average of over seven and a half years. The results of this study was published in the PLoS Medicine journal, published by the Public Library of Science.

This research examines the social relationships in some ways. Like a simple one, by seeing the size of the social relationships a person has, such as whether the person is married or living alone. Valuation is also seen from the perception of a person, whether they feel there will be others who will help when they need help. Another assessment of how strong a person is taken involved in their community. The results are then cross checked with the age, sex, health status, and cause of death when the person died.

Have poor social relationships turned out to be equivalent to alcoholics. This is more dangerous than not exercising, and two times more dangerous than the obese or overweight.

Not having social relationships have a greater impact for young death than no vaccination to prevent pneumonia at a young age, not taking drugs for high blood pressure, or exposure to polluted air.

“I’m certainly not underestimating the other risk factors because of course it is important to maintain health,” said Holt-Lunstad. “But we need to consider issues of social relations as something serious, too.”

Indeed it is not easy to suddenly tell people to have a friend or not. But according to Holt-Lundstad, there is some evidence that paying people to accompany a person is not included in efforts to improve health. For example in the elderly group who received a nurse, who is paid by their children, to take care of them. “Natural, having a relationship is very different with getting support of someone who is paid for that purpose,” said Holt-Lunstad.

So how does our social lives can affect our health? Holt-Lunstad explains, the existence of people who are emotionally close around us will make us able to face the stress of life – something that is known to cause death.

“When we are faced with potentially stressful events in our lives, we know that there are people around us that we can rely on. It makes us believe that they will make us able to deal with it. Their presence may also prevent various negative effects of stress , “said Holt-Lunstad.

Friend or someone close can also encourage healthy behaviors  that can affect our life. For example, our friend might remind us to eat better, exercise, have adequate sleep, or visit a doctor. Having social connections also give meaning to our lives and may affect us to guard ourselves better.