New research shows that social separation is a larger cause of disease and death than poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or smoking. Every day, we are discovering in the medical world, that having COMMUNITY is a bigger driver of your health than diet, exercise, lifestyle … Anything.
The facts emerging from recent research show that social isolation is a serious cause of illness.
Social isolation spreads throughout all parts of our culture, and it may be harming your health—or someone you love—even if your calendar is full!
Let’s talk about three things that can turn it around quickly.
First, before I offer these three tips, I want to showcase how important it is to be sure the elderly in our lives have a conversation with someone every day. Isolation is pervasive in advanced aging. Be sure to look into the community services available where your parents or grandparents live.
In many communities, large and small, there is an elderly outreach program to call and check in once a day. Even if they don’t like the food offered by “meals on wheels,” that opportunity to have someone knock on their door once a day is wonderful.
Now for you!
- Check into local volunteer opportunities—and choose something you’re passionate about so you don’t lose interest or get “too busy” to stick with it.
- Do you love to cook? Knit? Hike? Check out local Meetup groups on www.Meetup.com—search by topic and zip code, and you’re in! Many of these are offered at NO cost. If going online isn’t your thing, check out your local church choir—if you can carry a tune, they’d probably love to have you.
- If you like to do something that doesn’t have a formal “group”, not only can you take the initiative to start a group, but you can also volunteer to TEACH that hobby or expertise you have at the local high school or senior center. Think outside your comfort zone and bring your hidden talent with you.
The bottom line is that human contact is VITAL to humans. Just because your calendar is full, that might not mean real contact is going on. I know hundreds of health practitioners and busy entrepreneurs who work 70+ hours a week and talk to patients or clients all the time, but who live very isolated lives below the surface.
Take the time—MAKE the time—you are worth friends and activities that fill your soul. Your brain loves to be happy. It is a natural antidote to stress AND it’s a surefire way to have better health.