I read this online and had to share, I'm sure it happens worldwide, not just in Britain......

A life of booze, fags and slothfulness may be enough to earn your doctor's disapproval, but there is one last hope: a repeat prescription of mates and good conversation.
A circle of close friends and strong family ties can boost a person's health more than exercise, losing weight or quitting cigarettes and alcohol, psychologists say.

Sociable people seem to reap extra rewards from their relationships by feeling less stressed, taking better care of themselves and having less risky lifestyles than those who are more isolated, they claim.
A review of studies into the impact of relationships on health found that people had a 50% better survival rate if they belonged to a wider social group, be it friends, neighbours, relatives or a mix of these.

The striking impact of social connections on wellbeing has led researchers to call on GPs and health officials to take loneliness as seriously as other health risks, such as alcoholism and smoking.
"We take relationships for granted as humans," said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Utah. "That constant interaction is not only beneficial psychologically but directly to our physical health."

Holt-Lunstad's team reviewed 148 studies that tracked the social interactions and health of 308,849 people over an average of 7.5 years. From these they worked out how death rates varied depending on how sociable a person was.
Being lonely and isolated was as bad for a person's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. It was as harmful as not exercising and twice as bad for the health as being obese. The study is reported in the journal Plos Medicine.

Holt-Lunstad said friends and family can improve health in numerous ways, from help in tough times to finding meaning in life. "When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility to other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks."

Holt-Lunstad said there was no clear figure on how many relationships are enough to boost a person's health, but people fared better when they rarely felt lonely and were close to a group of friends, had good family contact and had someone they could rely on and confide in.
Writing in the journal, the authors point out that doctors, health educators and the media take the dangers of smoking, diet and exercise seriously, and urge them to add social relationships to the list.

A report by the Mental Health Foundation in May blamed technology and the pressures of modern life for widespread feelings of loneliness in all age groups across Britain. The survey of more than 2,200 adults found one in 10 people often felt lonely and one in three would like to move closer to their family.

Andrew McCulloch, of the Mental Health Foundation, said the latest study builds on work that links isolation to poor mental and physical health. "Trends such as increasing numbers of people living alone and the advent of new technologies, are changing the way in which we interact and are leading both the young and old to experience loneliness. It is important that individuals and policy-makers take notice of emerging evidence and of the potential health problems associated with loneliness." © Taken from the Guardian Newspaper
14 Responses
  1. CaramelD Says:

    Actually come to think of it, I don't think Nigerians have that problem. Can you imagine having no family around you? Hmm in our culture at one point our 3rd cusin has slept in our spare room because they were taking jamb/looking for a job/ doing NYSC etc!

  2. Rita Says:

    For Nigerians, it wont be that severe...we still have loners. This is indeed something to think about eh especially if we are not at "home"

  3. Nice Anon Says:

    Ya think? of course loniness dey kill persin.good thing most of us have got family around sha

  4. Vera Ezimora Says:

    In Nigeria, we have a problem of too much family! Too much family involvement, too much friendly involvement, and too much of everything in fact.

    Thankfully, of course, I am not lonely. Me, lonely? Nahhhh! Off I go on a date sef. Tehehehehe.

    Okay, fine. It's not a date.

  5. Myne Whitman Says:

    Rita is right. More reason to reach out to our immediate community and build connections.

  6. SHE Says:

    I think we have too many neighbours and family and friends and well wishers in Nigeria for people to start dying of lonliness.

    So. The Guardian's point taken. Caramel, now where is your own post?

  7. Some of the significant benefits of having that social network are the ability to vent our frustrations, the ability to forget our own problems for a while and the ability to broaden our daily experiences to bring more enjoyment to our lives.

  8. Sugarking Says:

    Nna mehn, I felt like this post was talking to me directly. I was just suggesting to a couple of friends lately that we should organise some weekly hangout at some pub for beers or something and just jam. loneliness is sickly I swear!

  9. kay9 Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. kay9 Says:

    lol@ Vera; tell me about!! Getting a good job ahead of your peers and relatives is like an announcement to them all to come and enjoy national cake. Try saying "leave me be", and you immediately become "Dee Nathaniel's wicked son"!

    I get the loneliness part tho; i'm not so good at making friends myself

  11. TayneMent Says:

    I think Nigerians overseas experience that loneliness because they might not have family around. Like for me the closest and only family I have here is my mom's sister and her family and they live 4 hours away.

  12. inStilettos Says:

    so true so true... like it on here... will def be back!... already following!

  13. mizchif Says:

    True say.
    Half of the patients that show up for clinic are really just there because they need an ear. Most of their complaints are vague and made up because they know that if they can go on and on they have the doctors ear for at least 30mins.

    Connections are very, very important especially in the curbing of habits like alchoholism and such.

    Yes naija people we are constantly surrounded by people, but when it's just people who are there for what they can get out of you without trying to form connections, then it's just as detrimental.

    Ngwa come and tell us the story of how you woke up naked :D

  14. CaramelD Says:

    Please forgive my very naughty general reply. I promise not to do it often.....

    SO our general consensus is that it is good to have a network but that too much family/friend involvement can drive us slightly crazy.

    It is worse when you are not at home but in another country for work or studies.

    We should try and make a few solid friends.

    Vera has a date.

    SHE doesn't like me copying and pasting.

    InStilettos is my 60th follower! Whoooop!!!

    Mizchif has brought my Twitter trouble to Blogsville ;)

    Hope you are all good. God bless x