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Social Connection And Community: Keys To A Longer Healthier Lifespan

Healthy Aging Kuel Category Expert: Deb Gutierrez

It has been quite a year. I have experienced every emotion there is in the past three weeks. The full range of feelings that began with the emotional stress of being isolated during the COVID pandemic.

The pandemic aside, many are not prepared for the feelings, lack of motivation, and more that accompany loneliness and social isolation. We can overcome and create healthy connections and relationships but need intention and direction.

Connection And Social Interaction Enables Us To Thrive & Survive

Many people, beginning in their mid-forties, find they are more alone than when they were younger. Children leave home, divorce, and death of close friends or partners, can bring a cascade of grief and more. If you know someone going through any of these life experiences, it is a perfect time to reach out and give them a call.

Did you know those who feel lonely or are isolated from others are at higher risk for health problems? This includes: cognitive decline, depression, weakened immune systems, and higher levels of stress and heart disease?

“The power of community to create health is far greater than any other physician, clinic, or hospital.” – Mark Hyman, M.D.


In this analysis that looked at 70 different studies, they found socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, most profoundly in middle age.

Human Connection Lies At The Core Of Our Well-being.

Through human connection, our mood is enhanced and our sense of purpose heightened. And, we tend to live longer, healthier lives when we engage with others in activities that are meaningful and productive.

How Can We Engage In Meaningful & Productive Activities? 

      • Help others through caregiving or volunteering It decreases loneliness.

      • Work for a Social cause or purpose.
      • Active Engagement (requires us to reach out) daily with family or friends – Make a phone call, go for a walk, meet for lunch or coffee.
      • Find or start a small group of friends who will commit to one another to engage in healthy behaviors – such as – Healthy Cooking, Exercise, Volunteering, and Reading.
      • Reach out to others to enhance quality relationships – it is enjoyable and improves health outcomes.

 

  • “Working for a social cause or purpose with others who share your values and are trusted partners puts you in contact with others and helps develop a greater sense of community,” John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D. (National Institute of Aging)

  • Strong social connections contribute to a longer, healthier lifespan. Social interaction stimulates the brain to keep the mind healthy and helps to prevent cognitive decline.

    As you move ahead in 2020, find someone to join hands with to do something proactive. Make a positive shift away from social isolation, social division, and loneliness.

    When we can find a more significant reason for being fully alive and find someone to do it with, we give ourselves and someone else longer healthier years. – And IT IS JUST MORE FUN!

     

About the Author:

Deb Gutierrez is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer. Her transformational coaching method helps women take the “grind” and stress out of everyday life, ditch the chronic fatigue and anxiety, to be productive, feel incredible, and fulfilled. For her, Health and Fitness are at the cornerstone of what brings meaning to life. It is the process of pushing, pulling, moving, failing, and prevailing that equals feeling fully alive. She has been married for 30 years to her husband Jim, and they have a daughter and Identical twin sons. She loves speaking, creating, and working with other women to create and celebrate the life you deserve and desire.