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  • Writer's pictureMaddox

Harvard's Epic 86-Year Study Declares: Loneliness Is Lethal, Community Is Cure – Find Out How!

I recently discovered a Harvard University study that has been going on for 86 years and is still in progress. Many of the participants were studied throughout their lives right up to the time of their death.  It’s the longest recorded study in history.

I found it absolutely fascinating!

Why am I sharing this with you?

This is relevant to anyone who is still breathing!

The study followed participants throughout their lives and was specifically about how they were connected to other human beings and/or to a community.

Science has known for many years that connection and community play a vital role in our mental and emotional health. When we’re surrounded by people who love us and we’re involved in a community that lifts us up and believes in us, we thrive. For those individuals that don’t have that kind of connection and support, they struggle.

What this study was able to scientifically prove Is that the connection and community aspect of our lives plays an equal and vital role in our physical health and how long we live.

“YES… Your physical health and life span are determined by the quality of your social connections or the lack thereof.”

I can’t say that this surprised me; however, it did prompt me to do a thorough assessment of my life.

It’s never a bad decision to step back, take a breath, and evaluate our priorities.  Probably something that most humans don’t often do and would gain such immense value in making the time for it.

In my mind, I created a virtual graph from the time I was born until today. I mapped out the times when my body was the healthiest and the times it was the least healthy.

Then, I created a second virtual graph. This one mapped out the times in my life when I was the most connected and the times I was the least connected to people and community.

Next, I laid one graph on top of the other. It was astonishing to see that they looked almost identical. The times when I was the most connected and felt a sense of community were the times when my physical health thrived. The times when I felt the least connected to people and community, was when my health was at its worst.

As a result of this study, I have spent time pondering the subtle distinctions when it comes to connection and community.

Perhaps you can relate to this. I’ve realized that I can be surrounded by family and have people all around me in a work environment or in a social environment, and still not feel connected.

It all pivots on the quality of the connections, and those connections being present with me on a regular basis.

As a former salon professional, I was used to high-quality connections with clients that I loved like family, who I had served for decades. After retiring from that industry at the end of 2019, the transition away from all of that quality social time has been one of the most challenging transitions of my life. The pandemic came on the heels of my retirement. That made it even harder.

I live with an amazing partner who is kind, loving, thoughtful, and supportive. We also run this business together. We have a lot of together time. And yet, there have been times when I have felt lonely.

The results of this study helped me realize that, in our busyness, we were both being less present with each other than was optimal or desirable.

Upon my realization of this, I initiated a conversation with him. I admitted that I had possibly been less than present with him. He could also see that he had possibly been less than present with me.

One of the revelations from the study was that when two people who are in a relationship/friendship get short, snippy, or fussy with each other, the first thing they might want to look at is their level of presence with each other. The study revealed that these responses are common when one are both parties feel lonely or neglected.

This one take-away was a huge golden nugget for me! It very simply created a whole language for Dwight and I to communicate our feelings and our needs.

We have found that it’s not how much time we spend together… It’s how much time we spend being present with each other. Although the distinction may seem subtle, the outcome is significant!

All this to say, if you want to live a happy, healthy life… mind, body, and spirit… making quality connections with those ideal friendships and building or being part of an inclusive, accepting, supportive community needs to be a priority.

Anything less and you’ll suffer the consequences of what will actually be self-neglect.  If you are truly practicing self-love, attention to this detail in not optional.

To recap:

  • Assess how connection and your health coincide

  • Practice being present with yourself and others

  • Take time to evaluate your priorities

  • Take action on nurturing friendships and building community

If you find that you want to take the necessary action to build quality friendships and surround yourself with amazing community, we got you!

Whether it’s free content, resources, coaching, or our membership community, we can support you in whatever you want that to look like.

We’re only an email away at

Listen to the podcast episode where the Harvard University researcher is being interviewed by Mel Robbins.



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