Just the other day I watched a documentary on centenarians (people across the globe over 100 years old) and the traits they shared in common. It was very interesting that while diet and exercise did play a key role in their longevity, there was another key factor most people don’t immediately think of… community!
The next day I read a terrific article in the Globe & Mail by Wency Leung, hitting home about the same idea. Those people who socialize the most in the older years tend to live the longest.
This is incredibly important in a day-and-age when people are spending more time connecting online but less time talking to their neighbors. According to developmental psychologist Susan Pinker, hundreds of friends on Facebook cannot replace the health benefits of face-to-face interactions.
New studies show that the middle-aged are the most isolated, with one in three people stating they have ‘no one to confide in’. In contrast, the rugged island mountains of Sardinia, Italy is an area dense with centenarians whom all congregate daily to chat, go for walks, and check in on their neighbors. The sense of community provides emotional support and mental stimulus for its inhabitants.
It seems socializing is also good for productivity at work. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found in a recent study that employees who took breaks together, rather than in isolation, improved their productivity by 20% and their satisfaction in their work by 10%!
We are social animals that require face-to-face interactions. Whether it’s taking a regular coffee/tea break with colleagues, scheduling in a weekly yoga or fitness class, or simply going for lunch with a friend, making time to interact with colleagues, friends, and family will help you live a longer, healthier, happier, and MORE productive life!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS