What is the secret ingredient to a long + happy life? Good genes help. And good jeans help. But honestly? Quality friendships provide the biggest boost.
According to the Mayo Clinic, having people we can count on can:
- Intensify belonging and purpose
- Promote happiness and decrease stress
- Improve self-confidence and self-efficacy
- Help us better deal with bad events
- Encourage change or helps us avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits
In Okinowa, the community with the most people over 100 worldwide, they keep small circles of friends- typically 4 or 5- that they have committed to for life.
They call these groups moai, but effectively they are just loyal friends, lifelong and loyal, and the health benefits are clear.
In research, Weight Watchers often does better than control diets, but it isn’t because the diet they promote is significantly better than any other diet plan. Mostly, we believe it’s success is related to the support participants receive in the program. The power of people to help us change our behavior is unparalleled.
Here are some ideas to help find your own health-changing moai:
- Enlist your best friends by sharing health goals and asking for support and company
- Discuss life changes and goals with your significant other and devise a plan to work on them together
- Join active meet-up groups on Meetup.com and meet like-minded people
- Enlist co-workers in weekly or daily changes like walking stairs or sharing a healthy afternoon snack
- Invite neighbors over for tea or a healthy meal and conversation
- Join online community groups interested in similar goals
- Introduce yourself to people at the gym to make going there more fun and enticing
- Share your successes with your friends and ask them to share too
We are all only as strong as our relationships.
Have a bodacious day!