Talk about your problems: You’ll probably live longer!


By : Mandy Erickson

Published September 21, 2018


Talk about your problems: You’ll probably live longer!

 

It has long been known that one of the biggest keys to happiness is social connection.

 

If you’ve ever had the chance to travel to a third world country, this becomes pretty obvious right away. You’ve likely seen people living in dire poverty and facing daily challenges like finding enough food, yet they don’t seem less happy than North Americans living with luxuries we take for granted like air conditioning and iPhones.

 

Though a cliche, there’s certainly truth in the idea that the traditional close-knit communities that still exist in the developing world go a long way in contributing to internal happiness.

 

Not only is social connection important for finding internal peace and happiness, more and more science is suggesting it’s also imperative for good physical health.

 

Or at least that the two go hand-in-hand.

 

What’s concerning is that more and more people in North America report they don’t feel connected to their community. In fact, the number one reason people seek therapy in the United States today is because they’re lonely.

 

Further, a recent report based in Vancouver that surveyed 33,000 people in the area found that 43 percent of people feel a low or very low sense of community belonging, while close to 50 percent of people said they have just one to three people they confide in, and another 6 percent admitted that have no friends with whom they feel closely connected with.

 

Men are less likely to feel they don’t have confidantes in their lives than women, the study also found.

 

Here’s the report: (http://www.myhealthmycommunity.org/Portals/0/Documents/Reports/MHMC_SocialConnections_web.pdf)

 

What’s particularly interesting, and perhaps surprising, is that older adults are more likely to feel connected than younger adults. Only 33 percent of 19 to 29 year-olds said they felt a sense of community belonging, compared to 77 percent of adults over the age of 70. Of course, the modern age of more and more screen time and less and less physical connection is one of the biggest areas to blame.

 

What does all this mean for physical health?

 

For starters, many studies have shown that people with higher levels of social connection are more likely to be physically active and eat healthier. Meanwhile, other research (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196056.php) reports low social connectivity can hurt your life more than obesity, obesity, high blood pressure, you name it.

 

In short, strong relationships and social connection = A longer life.

 

An interesting perspective on the topic can be found in this TED talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZvUppaDfNs), where Emma Seppala, the associate director at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, argues it’s not about the number of friends you have that will determine how connected you fell. It comes down to practicing compassion. When you feel and show compassion for yourself and others, you’ll start to feel more connected, she says.

 

Another great place to start is by joining Paradigm CrossFit.

 

One of our biggest goals when we opened our doors was to create a community-feel, a home away from home. We have always believed community is at the heart of health and happiness and we pride ourselves on bring a close-knit group who helps each other flourish in life.

 


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