My next installment from the book Wellbeing–The Five Essential Elements by Gallop researchers Tom Rath and Jim Harter…
When you reflect on the most memorable events, experiences and moments in your life, you’ll notice that they have something in common: the presence of another person. The best moments—and most agonizing ones—occur at the intersection between two people.
Your odds of being happy increase by 15% if a direct connection in your social network is happy. In other words, having direct and frequent social contact with someone who has high wellbeing dramatically boosts your chances of being happy.
- If your friend’s friend has high wellbeing, the odds of you being happy increase 10%.
- If your friend’s friend’s friend has high wellbeing, the odds of you being happy increase 6%.
- This is about three times the impact of $10K in income: for each additional $10K annual income increased the likelihood of being happy only 2%.
- Each happy friend you have increases your odds of being happy by 9%.
- Each unhappy friend you have decreases your odds of being happy by 7%
- Influence on Smoking
- If a close friend or family member smokes, you are 60% more likely to smoke
- If second degree of separation smokes, you are 30% more likely to smoke
- If third degree of separation smokes, you are 10% more likely to smoke
- Influence on Obesity
- If your close friend obese, you are 60% more likely to become obese
- If your spouse, brother or sister is obese, you are 40% more likely to become obese
- Influence on health
- If your best friend is very active, you are three times as likely to be very active
- If your best friend has a healthy diet, you are five times more likely to have a healthy diet
- Combining social interaction with physical activity has a compounding effect on our wellbeing.
- Relationships serve as buffers during tough times, which improves cardiovascular functioning and decreases stress levels.
- People with few social ties are at twice the risk of dying from heart disease
- Couples who report hostility in their relationship take twice the time to heal from wounds.
- To have a thriving day, we need six hours of social time. This includes time at work, at home, on the phone, talking to friends, sending e-mail and other communication.
- This is true for both introverts and extroverts
- This is true on weekdays and weekends
- If less than six, every additional hour of social time had a measurable benefit
- For seniors, among those who were socially active, their memories declined at less than half the rate compared to those who were the least social.
- Best friends at work
- Only 30% of employees have a best friend at work
- Those who do are seven times as likely to be engaged in their work and be better employees
- Of those who do not have a best friend at work, there is a 1 in 12 chance they are engaged in their jobs
- Small increases in social cohesiveness—chit chat—lead to large gains in production
“People with thriving Social Wellbeing have several close relationships that help them achieve, enjoy life, and be healthy. They are surrounded by people who encourage their development and growth. Those with high Social Wellbeing deliberately spend time—on average about six hours a day—investing in their social networks. They make time for gatherings and trips that strengthen these relationships even more. As a result, people with thriving Social Wellbeing have great relationships, which gives them positive energy on a daily basis.”
Three Recommendations for Boosting Social Wellbeing:
- Spend six hours a day socializing with friends, family, and colleagues (this includes work, home, phone, e-mail and other communication).
- Strengthen the mutual connections in your network.
- Mix social time with physical activity. For example, talk a long walk with a friend so you can motivate each other to be healthy.