Tuesday, June 21

“Nothing’s More Important than Family”

This is one of my husband’s favorite movie lines. While I’m not sure Don Carleone actually said this in The Godfather, Michael likes to pretend he did because he always delivers it while impersonating Marlon Brando. With a deep, guttural, whisper of a voice Michael says, “Nothing’s more important than family.” For added emphasis he shakes his right hand and kisses the tops of his fingers. And then he throws in a couple of Godfather slaps to someone’s cheek and finishes the scene by repeating the sound “eh?” a few dozen times.
The newest member of my family.
Holden, born May 2 to my sister
Cathy and her husband Troy.

We get it honey. Family’s important.

Good social relationships are important, not only for your mental health, but your physical health as well.

A recent study by Brigham Young University (BYU) has demonstrated that strong social relationships will help you live longer. (Unless of course you’re an enemy of the Carleone family. Then your life expectancy is only until Saturday, before mass.)

The BYU study found that “people with stronger social relationships had a 50% increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships.”

The researchers went on to state that, “…the influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.”

Weak social relationships are as risky to your health as smoking and alcohol consumption. Yikes!

I’m blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful extended family. But for those of you that have less than stellar relations with your family (it happens), strong friendships count toward a healthier life as well.

And you don’t need that many friends for it to affect your life in a positive way. A British study found that the magic number of friends to be happy was 10.

Dr Richard Tunney, of Nottingham University, quizzed more than 1,700 people about their satisfaction with their lives and the state of their friendships. Those with five friends or fewer had just a 40 percent chance of being happy. In other words, they were more likely to be unhappy than happy. When participants reached ten friends, they were more likely to be happy than unhappy.

Don’t worry. If you’re like me and the number of friends on your Facebook page is appallingly low, the study found that old friends are no more likely to make us happy than new friends. So it’s never too late to up these numbers!

I don’t need any research to tell me spending time with people I care about is healthy. I simply think about what I like to do most and it’s sharing a good meal and good wine with good friends.

With that we’re off this weekend to Cape Cod, MA. To get healthy by spending time with some old friends. I’m pretty sure there will be wine involved, so I’ll be sure and drink red. To really boost my health.

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