There is one health tip that beats all the superfoods, exercise regimes, supplements and meditation techniques hands down. It alleviates stress, makes us live longer, keeps us happier and stops us doing crazy.
Attribution: Flickr - Meg Cheng
You can't buy it in a bottle or at the organic market, in fact it is not only free, it is something that we can't actually buy, we have to earn it.
What we are talking about is people that we care about and those who care about us: Friends and Family.
What are the benefits of having friends?
A recent study found that people who knew their neighbours lived longer than people who didn't. In fact in one study of a group of elderly people, knowing your neighbours reduced heart attacks by 17%. Your move coconut oil.
Attribution: Flickr - Joris Louwes
One of the main predictors for mental illness has always been the quality of people's social support network. For people with mental illness, it is not cured, but is considered to go into remission. So it is easy to measure how likely people are to have a relapse. One of the main predictors is your personal social network. That is, how many good friends or loving family you have around you.
Having good friends and loving family reduces stress and makes us happier. This has an insulating effect against mental illness. Having good friends keeps us healthy.
What does it mean to be a friend?
Here is a simple question. If you were upset or worried about something, how many people around you could you call up and have a heart-to-heart talk with about your problem? This is one of the simplest and most important measures of a personal social network.
Attribution: Pixabay - cherylholt
Think about other problems. If your house burnt down, how many people do you know whose sofa you could sleep on or who would lend you money in a crisis?
Our personal social network is built upon people we can rely on and who help us out.
To have good friends we must be a good friend
If you want friends you need to be a good friend to other people. I have a number of friends who call me up when they have problems, but ignore me when their life is good, or worse yet when I have a problem. It is not a surprise that they have no one else to call when they have a problem.
Attribution: Flickr - Hartwig HKD
So go out, be a good friend to your friends. Every time you help them out, listen to their problems, and give them support and encouragement you are not just making them happier, you are making them live longer.
There is a selfish motivation as well of course, because the more real friends you have the longer you will live yourself.