"Love is all you need"

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need 
-The Beatles

“It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message”. “The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.” –Brian Epstein (the Beatles’ manager)

February is known as the month of love, so we thought it appropriate to cover the next topic in our Well-being Series: Social Well-being! When you reflect on the most memorable events, experiences, and moments in your life, you’ll notice that they have something in common: the presence of another person. The best moments—and most agonizing ones—occur at the intersection of two people. Social Well-being is about having strong relationships and love in your life (Rath and Harter, Wellbeing).

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author, discovered the five places in the world—named Blue Zones—where people live the longest, and are the healthiest. One of the commonalities he noted between all of these societies, was how they connect. The Blue Zones research found that longevity is a function of healthy eating, no smoking, a strong family orientation, daily activity, and a high degree of social engagement. Among the most powerful predictors of physical health in this research is the quality of our social ties. Life appears to be more fulfilling,and we end up living longer, when we are purposefully and socially engaged.

Buettner’s research found that if you don’t have at least two good friends that you can count on, on a bad day, your life expectancy is about 8 years lower than if you are just surrounded by a strong social network.  Likewise, if your friends are obese, there’s a 150% better chance that you will be overweight; or if your friends smoke and do drugs, it’s more likely you will engage in these types of activities as well. This research shows that it’s not enough to just have social ties; you must engage in meaningful relationships with people who help you achieve, enjoy life, and live healthfully. Surround yourself with people who encourage your growth and development and accept you for who you are.

The fabric of our lives is constructed person by person. As our relationships grow and develop, so too does our well-being. Our lives become richer, and we learn, grow, and develop through others (Rath and Harter, Wellbeing).

So, the Beatles had it right. All we need is a little love in our lives.

Source: Rath, T., & Harter J. (2010). Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. New York, NY: Gallup