Social Relationships And Health #AtoZChallenge

Today I wish to talk a little about social relationships and health, and how the two are connected. Studies have shown that people who have satisfying social relationships – connections with family, friends, and the larger community –  are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. On the other hand, people with relatively fewer social ties have a greater tendency for depression and early cognitive decline, as well as shorter lifespan.

One study, which examined data from more than 300,000 people in Western countries, found that people who lacked strong relationships had a 50% higher risk of premature death — an effect comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, more dangerous than obesity and physical inactivity. (Source: Harvard Health)

Merely having social contacts isn’t enough though – the quality of these relationships matters too. One study found that middle-aged women who reported being in very happy marriages or long-term committed relationships had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, compared to those in less happy relationships. Another study showed that hostile or negative interactions with family or friends could be linked to poor health episodes in a person’s life.

Having a wide network of such relationships can also help. A study in Sweden found that dementia risk in people aged 75 or more was lowest when the person in question had a large variety of satisfying relationships i.e. friends and relatives.

Relationships, therefore, are just as important as diet and exercise to maintain good health in the long run. When we have a good network of social relationships, we tend to feel better about ourselves. We are happier and better able to cope with situations that life throws at us. Relationships give us a sense of belonging and make us stronger. All this eventually has a positive impact on our physical and mental health too. So it is quite clear that our social relationships and health do go together.

What does this mean in terms of actionable inputs? Simply put, the connection between social relationships and health indicates that if you wish to enjoy a healthy and long life, you should work on your relationships.

Take time out to be there for your close friends and family. Spend quality time with your spouse or partner. Give your children your undivided attention during set times of the day even if you are busy. Call your parents or that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Plan a girls’ day out (or a guys’ day out) with your school gang. You’ll not just feel great, your (and their) health will also benefit from the time spent together.

What steps do you take to improve and develop your relationships? I’d love to hear from you!


You might also like:


How diet affects our health


Balance in Life – Basis of Physical and Emotional Wellness


8 thoughts on “Social Relationships And Health #AtoZChallenge”

  1. Good relationships are as important as good food.
    I can’t even imagine my life without my besties. They are my strength and mood-chillers.
    Despite hectic work schedule and the A to Z challenge, I will be meeting my bestie tomorrow. And this post of yours made me feel that I am doing the right thing 🙂

  2. My friends circle is very limited. After having a bad experience I dare not to have more friends. I do talk to everyone but close I have a very few and you can count. Apart from the few close buddies, I share everything with my spouse and my son. Since we are a very small family of three, we are an open book. There is no hide and seek.

    1. A close knit family is a great blessing Deepa. And it’s the quality of friends that matter, not the number 🙂

  3. I am a person with a few close friends and I never find the need to be a part of a crows. Infact it makes me feel out of place. I have strong ties with my immediate family. A few friends I met over social media have become an integral part of my life. Its important to nurture these relationships and it requires genuine effort from both the sides for it to thrive . In case of a few relationships I found I was only giving and after a while I decided its best to steer clear of them.

  4. Social relationships are vital to maintaining good health. Conversely, social isolation creates health risks. Studies have shown that for patients with coronary artery disease, social isolation creates added risk of death. Recent evidence suggests a link between poor social ties and severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and cancer.

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