There is strength in numbers.

You've probably heard that phrase. Well, it is more than a platitude. Substantial evidence reveals that environmental and community forces are important determinants of health. Social connection. Interaction. Community. These are essential to health - wellness - vitality. Which is exactly why they are one of the pillars of the SEACRET LIFESTYLE.

In one of the recent studies on the health benefits of social relationships, published earlier this year, researchers provided evidence that social ties and increased contact with family and friends are associated with a lower risk of death in young women with breast cancer. Another study presented a similar conclusion with respect to surviving heart surgery. What’s more, a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 other studies showed that social connection doesn’t just help us survive health problems: the lack of it causes them.

Turns out, social isolation may actually be one of the biggest risk factors for human mortality. As an example, here is how the study corresponds low social interaction to some of the more common risks to our wellbeing:

  • As bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • As dangerous as being an alcoholic
  • As harmful as never exercising
  • Twice as dangerous as obesity

To appreciate the impact of social connection on the state of your body, one need only consider what happens when it is abruptly cut off. Many languages have expressions such as “hurt feelings” that compare the pain of such social rejection to the pain of physical injury. We now know that those are more than just metaphors: there are two components to physical pain, an unpleasant emotional feeling, and a feeling of sensory distress, associated with different structures in the brain. This connection between physical and social pain reflects the tie between social connection and the physiological processes of the body.

Source: "The Pain of Exclusion," by Kipling D. Williams, Scientific American Mind, January/February 2011.)

Clearly, if you are looking to make changes to your life to improve your health, you need to consider you social circle. Your wellness is more than just food and exercise. You need to improve your relationships. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and encourage you and challenge you and make you laugh. Spend time together. Learn new things together. Eat together. Move together. Travel together.

Live and love. Get social. Find your tribe. Improve your vibe.