“In your everyday life, do you experience conflicts with any of the following people?”
- Other family
A Danish health survey asked almost 10,000 people between ages 36 and 52 to answer, “always,” “often,” “sometimes,” “seldom,” or “never” for their applicable relationships.
Eleven years later, 422 of them were no longer living. That’s a typical number. What’s compelling, Rikke Lund and her colleagues at University of Copenhagen say, is that the people who answered “always” or “often” in any of these cases were two to three times more likely to be among the dead. (And the deaths were from standard causes: cancer, heart disease, alcohol-related liver disease, etc.—not murder. Were you thinking murder?)
The conclusion, then: “Stressful social relations are associated with increased mortality risk among middle-aged men and women.”
But relationships are also like almonds. We know that if you eat almonds, you increase your odds of living longer—unless you hate almonds so much that eating them sends you into a rage, raising your blood pressure, and you eat them every day until at some point the hypertension eventually causes a stroke. Yes, just like almonds.
*Image of “heart” via Shutterstock