A Healthy Social Life Goes Beyond Friends and Family

A Healthy Social Life Goes Beyond Friends and Family

One of the strongest findings from the research into happiness, health, wellbeing and even longevity is that the quality of our relationships largely determines the quality of our lives.

Other people matter.

Fostering and developing and maintaining positive connections is vital for enjoying a positive life.

But it’s not JUST our intimate (close) relationships. It’s not JUST family and friends. These are undoubtedly important but so too are other forms of connection …

via Greater Good by Jill Suttie

Like many people, in terms of socializing, I prioritize making time for my closest friends and family. When it comes to reaching out to people I don’t know as well, I have a harder time and often find myself reluctant to engage—maybe because I’m introverted or just plain busy. 

This could be a big mistake, though, according to a new study. Having a variety of different types of social interactions seems to be central to our happiness—something many of us discovered firsthand during the pandemic, but may already have forgotten.

In a series of surveys (done pre-pandemic), researchers looked at how having a socially diverse network related to people’s well-being. Just to be clear, they weren’t looking at racial, ethnic, or gender diversity, but how much people interacted with different types of social contacts—friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, classmates, community members, etc.

In one survey, 578 Americans reported on what activities they’d been engaged in, with whom, and for how long over the past 24 hours, while also saying how happy and satisfied with life they were. The researchers then gave them a score for “social diversity” based on the variety of social contacts they’d had and the length of time spent with each type of contact.

After analyzing the results, they found that people with more diverse social networks were happier and more satisfied with life than those with less diverse networks—regardless of how much time they’d spent socializing overall. This pattern held even after taking into account things like a person’s gender, age, employment status, and other potential influences of happiness.

Having a wider set of social contacts seems to be important for happiness, says lead researcher Hanne Collins of Harvard Business School…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE