Last week the Today show featured Dr. Oz on their show to talk about the fact that we are in an age of longevity of life. People are living longer than they have before and Dr. Oz suggested three tips to help you live that longer life too. His tips included:
- Eat less sugar and more vegetables,
- Focus on your blood pressure,
- Find on your happy place.
This got me thinking about how much effort many people put into maintaining their physical appearance and fitness as aging progresses, often in hopes of living a longer and better life, but how often we neglect our mental health and fail to consider its impact on the aging process.
Dr. Oz’s 3rd tip speaks directly to how much our mental health is connected to longevity of life. Find your happy place was all about having a strong and more connected social support network. This is of such importance that it makes the top 3, of several long lists that Dr. Oz has developed about how to live longer. The reality is that we are social beings that require connection with other humans. Without this we become lonely and loneliness has a hugely negative impact on our health and wellness. Of course, based on how introverted or extroverted we are, we all require different doses of connection with others but in the end, we do not live well or long without connection. Regardless of your dosage needs it is a fact that some social connection, a squad so to speak, is needed for a long and healthy life.
What does your squad look like? Do you have people that you can call on for support in times of need? Do you have a squad that cheers you on toward your goals? Whether it is one, a few, or a large number in your squad, having them makes you a healthier person. Thank them for being a part of you being the best you today!
Perhaps, you are on the end of the spectrum where you understand how loneliness negatively affects health because you are in a place of loneliness. If you often feel lonely and do not have a squad you can call on in times of need then setting a goal to develop a support network could be in order.
How do you go about creating a squad? Here are a few tips to help you start building a group of people in your life that can provide support and encouragement and ultimately…. can help you live longer!
- Consider asking someone whom you already have frequent contact with out for coffee or lunch to begin exploring whether there is a potential for more depth in your relationship. This might include co-workers, other moms at school drop off, family members, people you often see around places you frequent such as the gym, library, or in volunteer roles.
- Think back to relationships that you have felt connected with, supported by, and valued in the past and consider re-connecting with those old friendships.
- Begin volunteering or taking part in social activities such as mom groups, group exercise at a local gym or YWCA, a book club, or a Bible study to widen the pool of individuals that you have regular contact with, that may have similar interests, and that may be candidates for a deeper relationship.
If you tend to be more introverted, it can be difficult to put yourself out there and connect with others. I get it, it is hard. But you must remember that you can do hard things and that there is a big benefit to doing so when it means that you can stack the deck to your advantage for living a longer and healthier life!
Being the best and healthiest version of you requires an investment in healthy and supportive relationships. None of us can life our best and fullest life on our own. Start setting and achieving squad goals that meet your individual needs for connection, support, and encouragement. It is never too late to begin living your best life!