The one thing most women do every day will actually help us live longer… 44



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We know that to live a long and healthy life we should eat lots of fruit and vegetables, avoiding smoking and alcohol, exercise and keep our mind sharp. But did you know that there are other things, most of us are already doing every day, that could also help us add extra years to our lives?

According to Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, gossip is the “Most important thing” to keep us alive.

His theory is backed by evidence through the years since human life began that through gossip we learn important information on who to trust and who to avoid. Professor Dunbar said, “That has a bigger effect than anything, except giving up cigarettes.”

“Your social network has a huge effect on happiness and well-being. The problem we have is how to maintain our social networks. Language evolved to allow us to keep the oil of the social network flowing, keep us up to date, and tell stories, which is really important for community cohesion. Gossiping is just chatting with people and keeping up to date with the social world in which you live. So gossip is what makes us human. The use of gossip in a negative sense is not seen until the 18th century.”

“Even today the vast majority of human communication, whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns is gossip. It comes so naturally, that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose. He said.

He also added that ‘rumour-mongers’ were in fact the first journalists, helping inform others about who to avoid and who to trust.

So this weekend when you catch up for coffee or dinner with your friends, don’t shy away from sharing what you’ve heard around the neighbourhood… Because it’s actually keeping you connected, sharp, informed and alive!

Tell us, do you and your friends gossip? Are you happy to admit to sometimes gossiping? Share your thoughts on this scientist’s opinion in the comments below… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I certainly think that rumour-mongers were the first journalists…has anything changed! The rest of it is good too!

  2. Yes, gossip can be entertaining at times, knowledge on how people are doing, exchanging jokes etc., so am not surprised that it can be also good for us!!

  3. I will not live long because I do not like gossip. Too many people have been hurt or maligned for no other reason than the person spreading rumours has nothing better to do. If everyone minded their own business and stop being nasty the world would be a better place.

  4. Gossip isn’t always nasty

    8 REPLY
    • fine if it is not talking about other peoples lives behind their backs, but I guess you can that is just chatting

    • I disagree, if I were telling you about something my sisters family had done and we were discussing it out in the open, that’s gossip, but it’s still not nasty

    • Carol….don’t think you should be talking about your sister’s problems anyway. It’s her business, not yours. I was betrayed by a family member…and it WAS nasty!

    • If what you say about another person cannot be said in front of them…then it is nasty gossip

    • I didn’t say I spoke about my sisters problems…..I said something my sister had done i.e. bought something new, gone on a holiday etc

  5. I have enough good things going on in my life than to gossip about other peoples lives, it just makes me switch off in a conversation.

    5 REPLY

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