Study: Socializing Can Help You Live Longer

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Your friends may be more valuable than you think.

Researchers of a new study at Brigham Young University have found that people with strong social relationships live 50 percent longer.

The researchers say there's several reasons for this. Friends can help one deal with stress. They can help us cope with it and buffer the reaction to it.

Friends can also encourage healthy behaviors -- like eating right, exercising, and just taking better care of ourselves overall.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad was one of the researchers conducting the study.

"The idea that a lack of social relationships is a risk factor for death is still not widely recognized by health organizations and the public. When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks," she told the United Kingdom Press Association.

The study, which was published in Public Library of Science Medicine journal, also found that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

Researchers also found that being socially isolated can be more harmful than not exercising or twice as bad as the risks posed by obesity.

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