Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Village Lives Longer

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

What do the majority of the oldest living people have in common?

They're from varied regions, climates, cultures, and diets (blue zones). The thing they all have in common is that they're all part of a close knit community. From villagers in Greece, to the people of Okinawa, tribes in the middle east and southern Russia, villagers of Peru and Ecuador, Rosetans in Pennsylvania, to even 7th Day Adventist in California, they're all part of a close village and they live longer.

But why?

We need constant social interactions

People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, whereas people who are constantly interacting with people they care about, tend to live longer.

Social interactions tends to outweigh the influence of loneliness. Some people feel lonely regardless of whether there are people around or not, but having people around still has a positive influence. Whether we're "extroverts" or "introverts," it doesn't seem to matter. As far as life expectancy is concerned, we all seem to do better when we're around others. Meaning loneliness and social isolation are related but not the same thing.

Social interactions then become even more important as we grow older and ultimately our brain has a lot of say in how long we live.

Up until now we've always been a part of a community

There have been studies already where mortality rises shortly after a spouse dies, and people tend to do better, especially with illness when they have a confidant. And married people just tend to live longer than singles.

Isolation also leads to poorer health choices: poor eating, drinking, smoking, etc. There isn't anyone to live for.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes sense. Evolution is about the ability to survive. Our ability to survive increases when we're part of a group (it also increases genetic diversity, adaptations, and ability to create more offspring). We've evolved as a race together and it only makes sense we do better in a group rather than as an individuals.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that empathy is hardwired into our brain. And even such things as anxiety and insomnia would make sense if we needed certain villagers to be on high alert to keep the rest of us alive.

We all need to be a part of something and it's time we scaled the importance of that just as highly as exercise and diet.

This is not only worth noting for people looking to be healthy and live longer lives, but programs that deal in health and wellness as well. Increased social interactions and the village concept is something I've adopted into my own program early on, and the positive results are beyond measure.

Source: Must Triumph

Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletterYou can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.

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