Recent research has revealed there are two major contributors to a longer life. These are:
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Close relationships – having a few people you can rely on.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Social Integration – how much we interact with people during the day.
There is a village in Sardinia with one of the highest records for longevity. With its close knit streets, and everyone being near everyone else, people cannot help but interact. Old people tend to live with their families, where there are children of all ages, some even in their 70’s. Social interaction and integration are elemental parts of life in this village.
Saying hello to your neighbour, to the person who serves you coffee, smiling to the supermarket checkout assistant, playing card games with friends or strangers can all make a difference, and you can do this anywhere. You don’t have to be in a Sardinian village. Or, of course, you can choose not to do these things… and potentially die younger.
Statistics indicate that women generally live longer than men. Part of this is attributed to the fact that women tend to bond more easily and will talk about difficult intimacies, more so than men. Men tend to avoid ‘sensitive’ subjects and instead will bond on more generalised topics like football, or in places of mutual activity, the gym or the office meeting. In the competitive world of business, men give most of their attention to their work and career progression, and often tend to lack the skills required to meet non business colleagues or to know what to talk to them about other than those ‘comfortable’ subjects – sports, politics, cars. Of course this is a stereotype, however it is still very prevalent in our modern day society of equality. Women are the ones who tend to share, talk, have close collaborative relationships, long lasting, trusted friends with whom they have those deep conversations about all sorts of ‘stuff’. It’s all about connecting.
And then there is that other disassociative thing that we all do now. For the younger generations (and some of us older ones too), the evidence is that social media is no substitute for face to face encounters, that precious social interaction which releases oxytocin and cortisone and gives us a better chance of achieving that longer life.
Something to think about
Too many of us focus on short term work goals, and very of us few choose to decide what kind of life we want to live and to develop the personal goals to match until it’s far too late. How many times have you heard someone say, when asked why they do the job they do, something like “Well it just happened/ seemed like a good idea/ suited my skills / people said I should or would be good at it”? How difficult it is for us to pin point when we made actual choices in our lives? When do we think about the way our relationships and interactions impact on our choices and what we do?
What can we do?
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Check who around you is really there for you, without their own personal agenda and connect deeply with those who are.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Be aware of how you are interacting – social media is all very well, as long as balanced with the healthier types of genuine face-to-face interaction.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Ditch the detractors – those who always seem to have a reason why you shouldn’t be who you are, do what you want, make your own choices.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Focus on your personal goals and your futures, not just on the immediate issues. This will help you prepare the skills and give you the confidence needed for developing the right networks and making the right connections.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Try some Developmental Coaching – an intentional process to increase awareness and perspective. By growing your awareness, focus, and perspective, you will become increasingly able to decide and meet your own goals and live the life you want to live. This amalgam of life coaching, mentoring, executive coaching might be the first small step to a brighter well-connected future with your own great village.
David Rigby – July 2018
David has worked and lived in 22 countries, and has built good long term relationships and social face to face interactions in many of them. Arrange a face to face or Skype Development Coaching session to help you find your way forward to creating your own village.