larryB&W@300This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION:  Why do you recommend making an effort to spend some time everyday with a friend? What does that have to do with health?

ANSWER:   Consistently, in studies that have looked at behaviors most strongly associated with the highest levels of health and well-being, social support is included. The Alameda County study involved following 9,000 residents of Alameda County, California for 7 years and then the researchers did an 8-year follow-up. After controlling for every imaginable confounding variable, the people with the most social contacts had the lowest morbidity and mortality.  Numerous other studies with very large sample sizes all came to the same conclusions.  In every study, the most isolated people had the most chronic and life-threatening illnesss and those with the most social contacts were the healthiest. In all these studies the researchers controlled for diet, exercise, sleep, and dozens of other potential confounders.

Some researchers claim social support is essential to our survival.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.