One of the most important factors to be discussed when looking at creating greater happiness in your life is your web of social connections. This web of strong and weak ties has been referred to as “a necessary condition for high happiness” in a study that compared the lives of “very happy, average, and unhappy people.”
Very happy people in this study consistently scored an average of 30 on a life satisfaction scale, double the score of the unhappy group! Without fail, these happy folks had rich interpersonal lives, spent the most amount of time with others and the least amount of time alone. The study concluded that “social relationships form a necessary but not sufficient condition for high happiness – that is, they do not guarantee high happiness, but it does not appear to happen without them.”
A Harvard study that followed 268 men for their entire lives found that “success in relationships” was strongly tied to physical, mental, emotional health and even economic health. What appears to be most important is your subjective experience of support and loneliness. In other words, the number of relationships is less important than how you feel about them. It is also important to note that various types of relationships and connection levels, referred to in positive psychology as strong and weak ties, are valuable and contribute to happiness levels.
This week’s happiness technique is … building your relationship web.
To implement this technique, take stock of your current relationships. Do you have strong family ties, friendships, work relationships, and community connections? They are all important and can contribute to your long-term happiness levels. Put some extra effort into fostering connection with others and then watch to see how it impacts your experience!