Health & Spirit

The Biggest and Best Thing You Don't Know About Well-Being

Marilynn Preston on

Let's pretend we're sitting down, face to face, and after some easy chitchat about two-time Olympian Johnny Weir's fabulous fashion statements, I put on my reporter's hat and ask you this one dizzying question: What is the single most crucial factor when it comes to living a happy, healthy life?

Take a breath. Reflect. Have a glass of something.

The numero Ășno most important factor.

Exercising daily? Very good guess. Eating well? Nice try.

But it's not the answer that can change your life in unexpected and remarkable ways.

"The most important factor in a happy and healthy life is a positive sense of connection with others," writes best-selling author Michael Gelb in his smart and entertaining new book, "The Art of Connection."

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Yes! There's tons of research to back up Gelb's statement. Study after study shows that "positive social connectedness" will promote longevity and prevent dementia, diabetes and many other health problems.

Human interaction -- with real friends, not Facebook friends -- also strengthens your immune system, reduces inflammation and spreads happiness, empathy and compassion in ways that enhance your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Wow. All that, and you don't even have to join a gym.

"What really matters in life is connection," writes Gelb, whom I've connected with for years. I've always been impressed with his powerful insights and practical strategies for fine-tuning our brains, developing our creativity and, in his latest book, deepening relationships and enriching lives. Here are some highlights:


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