Excerpt from AARP Magazine June 2018
The Keys to Healthy Living: Friendship and Purpose
Changes in Lifestyle and Outlook can affect Longevity
By Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO
Social connections are important to your health. People with close friends are more likely to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, maintain peace of mind, and have less stress, engage in brain health activities, and take on new challenges or hobbies.
Loneliness is the new smoking – according to one researcher, it is equally as bad for you as inhaling 15 cigarettes a day. Studies show that loneliness can shave eight years off life expectancy, that it has a big negative effect on quality of life , and that it’s the single largest predictor of dissatisfaction with health care.
The Mortality risk for loneliness is greater than that of obesity. Social isolation of older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.
Having a purpose in life is important to health as we get older and is a key factor in aging successfully. A sense of purpose for many is more important than making money, and it’s associated with a wide range of better health outcomes including reduced risk of mortality, stroke, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease.
People with a sense of purpose also get better sleep, have fewer nights of hospital admission and go to the doctor less often. And they are more likely to take care of their health-to eat healthier, exercise more, avoid abusing drugs and alcohol, and seek out better preventive health services.
Evidence also shows that optimism about aging has an impact on our health, adding 7.5 years to our lives. Those ‘with an upbeat view of aging are more likely to fully recover from a severe disability, have a larger hippocampus (apart of the brain that affects memory), show less anatomical evidence of Alzheimer’s on an MRI, and have up to an 80 percent lower risk of a cardiovascular event.
EXAMPLE: To see an example of my personal Wisdom Project book, you can download Be the CHAMPION of Your LIFE Transform Your Destiny V3.2.This will give you an idea of what one might look like. Be creative and bold when you design yours.