Happy people are healthier and typically live longer lives. Convincing evidence of this phenomenon comes from Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, two leading experts in the field of happiness research. When they compared the happiest people to the least happy people, they found that the first group was highly social and had the strongest relationship ties. In fact, good social relations were a necessity for people to feel happy.
Similarly, other psychologists have written that the need to belong is “fundamental.”
Researchers say that daily social support is a key factor in feeling optimistic. Optimism, in turn, increases our satisfaction with life and lowers our risk of depression. Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that when we feel that we have social support, our visual perception of challenges actually changes: Mountains look more like molehills. Social support wards off depression and suicide. People who are lonely tend to have higher blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease, and they’re more likely to “give up” or “quit trying” to deal with a stressor such as illness.
There’s ample evidence that friendships don’t just make our lives better, they make them longer. A review of 148 studies found that people with stronger social relationships have a 50 percent lower risk of mortality. So get out there and start nurturing your friendships!
Something to Think About
Most people say that they have five close friends. People that they can count on and that they can talk to. Five does not seem like a lot, but it’s said that if you have five true friends, you are a very lucky person. How many can you count?
Call five of your friends this week. Plan to get together and just catch up. Cultivate those relationships.
Words of Wisdom
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. – C.S. Lewis
True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable. – David Tyson
Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart. – Washington Irving
Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up. – Thomas J. Watson
Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. – Oscar Wilde