At 96, my grandmother had lived a long and colorful life. She had seen the beginning and end of modern wars and emerging technology (she had her own Facebook page), and she appreciated Usher and UFC in a non-ironic way. Her funeral had been a testament to the kind of life she had led. Hundreds of people came to say goodbye over the span of a week. There were wet eyes but more laughter and shared stories than anything else.
She was loved by an entire town of people, and it was her legacy to be the most popular woman in her hometown. According to research, that strong network of friends might have played a significant factor in her lifespan. While a healthy diet and an active lifestyle are given factors in longevity, regular social contact is as impactful as smoking or drinking habits.
If living to 100 is a major goal, take a page from Golden Girls and keep your friends close. A 2010 Australian study studied 188 centenarians (over the age 100) and confirmed that the majority had strong social ties with friends (59%), neighbors (62%), and family (72%). Across the board, anxiety and depression were nonexistent, and most reported a high quality of life.
From longevity to mental health, we are socially wired to thrive with positive social connections, so find a new vina to jog with and double up on your wellness habits. Lesson learned: friendships extend your life and improve its quality.
Grandma does know best.
(Featured image via advanced.style)