In addressing lifestyle factors that influence health, it is important to consider food choices, exercise, rest, and environmental factors like fresh air and sunlight. Scientists are beginning to discover that there is one facet of life that ranks above all of these factors in determining wellness and longevity. This facet is the level of love and connectedness that we feel.
It is becoming clear that wellness and longevity are strongly dependent on experiencing supportive relationships with family and friends, and being involved in groups and activities that give us a sense of purpose and contribution. For example, a recently completed study that looked at 7,000 Californians over 17 years found that those who lacked meaningful social connections had a 200 to 300 percent greater chance of dying prematurely than those who felt more socially connected. A study of nearly 1,400 people with heart disease found that those with a spouse or confidant died at approximately one-third the rate of those who had no one to confide in. Another recent survey of more than 21,000 older adults found that weekly church attendance was associated with 7 years of longer life expectancy for Caucasian Americans and 14 years for African-Americans. Read more about How Important Is Love To Your Health?