The Secret to Living Longer Involves Meeting Face-to-Face

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Elderly couple

Do you ever wonder what it would take to live to 100 or beyond? The answer may lie in face-to-face contact.

In this TED Talk from psychologist Susan Pinker, called “The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life,” Pinker takes her audience to Sardinia, an island located off the coast of Italy where there are 10 times as many centenarians (those who live to be 100 or more years old) as there are in North America. The density of the island’s main village of Villagrande forces villagers to constantly intersect. Even as people age, they are constantly surrounded by extended family, friends, neighbors and a greater community of people. In other words, the elderly are never left to live solitary lives, unlike other parts of the developed world, says Pinker. This same concept takes root in today’s business meetings, where face-to-face conversations also include non-verbal cues that can make or break business relationships.

Pinker backs these findings up with a study from Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a researcher at Brigham Young University who studied thousands of middle-aged people to understand what reduced their chances of dying the most. Holt-Lunstad found that the two top factors are two features from one’s social life. Having close relationships plays a factor as well as that of social integration. Simply interacting with people each day, whether those interactions stem from weak or strong bonds, can be a strong predictor of how long you’ll live.

That means saying hello to the person who makes your coffee each day or taking the time to go to the bank teller at the bank can actually help you live a longer, healthier live. Better yet, this proves that face-to-face meetings really do make a difference, not just in today’s business world but on a personal health level as well. Learn more from Pinker’s presentation on the TED Talk stage.

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