While some species on the planet are solitary, such as bears, koalas and leopards, spices that live in groups, such as wolves, lions and humans are by their very nature “social”. There is ever growing research to demonstrate that remaining sociable offers huge benefits for both health and longevity.

Our four pillars of being social are:
  • Intimacy
  • Friendships & Staying Social
  • Teams
  • Compassion & Giving

Dr Malcolm Kendrick wrote, “to age happily, you need to be driven more by intimacy and love than achievements and status”. Intimacy does not just have to be through a romantic relationship, but it could be with family members or close friends that you confide in. Research shows that intimate relationships seem to buffer people from the pathogenic effects of stress and metabolic syndrome.  

Friendships & Staying Social
As a highly social species, fostering meaningful relationships is an essential aspect of health. Staying social plays an important role in mental wellbeing and therefore is of significant importance for our inner health and longevity too. According to a study conducted at Brigham-Young University, loneliness and isolation can have a bigger impact on your life span than obesity.

There is a saying that Teams is an acronym for Together Everyone Achieves More. When we are trying to change habits it is important to connect with other people trying to achieve the same goals. Our behaviour is highly influenced by those around us. But it is more than that, when you share a goa with someone else, you both can inspire each other to continue. There is also research that proves if you are for example trying to lose weight, your chance of long term success is greatly enhanced if you do it with your partner. Therefore if you are trying to lose weight, reverse type 2 diabetes or simply get fitter, if you can do it with someone else, or even better a group, then as a team, you are likely to achieve more.

Compassion and Giving
Health benefits can be achieved by both self compassion and compassion of other. Increased compassion is related to increased happiness and decreased depression. Shapira & Mongrain, 2010. The Dali Lama says, “Each of us in our own way can try to spread compassion into people’s hearts. Western civilizations these days place great importance on filling the human ‘brain’ with knowledge, but no one seems to care about filling the human ‘heart’ with compassion”. A 1999 study of elderly people at the University of California, Berkeley, found that those who volunteered for two or more organisations were 44 percent less likely to die over a 5 year period than non-volunteers.