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Why community is essential for longevity.



I have been reflecting on the theme of community recently, and how it relates to longevity.

You might know about the so called 'Blue Zones' that exist around the world, where people live to 100 years old, free from the usual diseases that afflict us here as we age.

The major factors involved in the longevity of these people include nutrition, sleep, how they manage their stress, movement - and most importantly, community.

The people that age well, without disease are living in close-knit communities, where nobody is lonely. Children are raised by the whole tribe and the elders are respected and looked after.

I was reflecting on my own community and how grateful I am that I am surrounded by thoughtful, generous people everywhere I go.

My neighbour's apple tree recently fell into my garden after a particularly windy and wet night. Within 24 hours, we had had a discussion about sharing out the fruit and helping to cut back the wood which would be distributed to neighbours and friends for use as firewood and for carving.

I have enjoyed making compote at home - enough to last me a whole year! I have also enjoyed inviting friends over to pick the fruit and I like the thought of knowing that my friends and community will be warming their homes with the wood at some point.

Just this small act of community kindness and cohesion gave me a sense of wellbeing that I can't really describe.


In a society where loneliness is becoming a major health issue - for young and old people alike - I ask you to think about how you can make small steps to look after your community. You could have a massive impact on someone's wellbeing, which in turn will make you feel good.

Because that's how reciprocity helps to turn the wheel of life.

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