'A sense of purpose adds years to your life and lonliness can affect your health'
Two headlines that caught my eye. The first was a US stady that interviewed over 6000 people between the ages of 20 and 70.
The participants were asked how they related to the following questions:
'Some people wander aimlessly through life but I am not one of them'
or ' I live life one day at a time and don't really think about the future'
or 'I sometimes feel as if I've done all there is to do in life' and they were also asked about relationships with other people.
They did find that the greater purpose in life meant they were less likely to die but 'adding years to your life' I'm afraid was not proved in the US study.
On the other hand we know that lonliness does have a negative effect on our health. Esther Rantzen developed the charity The Silver Line and has thousands of older callers who for whatever reason find themselves isolated.
Esther herself experienced this when her family were living busy lives and just didn't have the time to spend with her.
The NHS recognises lonliness as a risk and has published guidelines to help people
1) Smile, even if it feels hard. Smile and begin a conversation with someone.
2) Invite friends for tea. Sometimes they are waiting to be asked round.
3) Could you use a computer? Many grandparents are enjoying facebook because they are seeing pictures of their grandchildren.
There are computers available for use in libraries if you don't own one and many councils run computer lessons for first timers.
With the population ageing, it's important to keep as active and alert as long as possible. Continuing to contribute and 'have fun' has a positive effect on health.