Research by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler suggests that happiness, along with other behaviours is contagious. If you belong to a social network that has a general attitude of positivity, it will rub off on you. It is true that the company we keep influences our thoughts, moods and behaviours.
People who have one or more close friendships tend to be happier. People with few social ties are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, as compared to those with stronger social bonds. People with strong and healthy relationships are less likely to feel stressed by challenging situations.
What is the quality of your Social Network?
Social network is about the number of people you interact with. You can count your social media friends in this group even acquaintances.
In this advanced age of online communication, with the means to connect to each other remotely has made social connection easier by taking down the confidence barriers. It is now just a simple search to find people with the same interests, hobbies and aspirations in the same locality.
The negative that online communication has caused over the last 2 generations is due to the fact we have become a cocoon society. In 2013, a USA Today article entitled "Cocooning: It's back and thanks to tech" stated that “Thanks to 24hr wireless Internet connectivity and bigger, better mobile devices that reproduce pixel-perfect high-definition video, cocooning is entering a new evolutionary stage. Consumers are staying home more, watching movies delivered via satellite or the Internet to their smart TV’s, eating in by ordering online and transforming their homes into a she shelter or a man cave away from the daily social connectivity soon becomes isolation.”
But a social network is not the same as social support.
Social Support has more to do with the quality of your friends. If we want to be happy, building stronger ties should be one of our priorities. We need to cultivate relationships that go deeper than just a simple Hi and Hello. How many of your friends can you really rely on? Is there anyone you can turn to when you have problems? Someone who has your well-being and happiness in mind? A source of inspiration and hope?
Who do you go to if you have a relationship problem? a financial problem? a work problem? or even a health problem? Usually nobody or it’s the same person for all the areas of life. You shouldn’t be taking financial advice off somebody who is financially struggling themselves. If someone has been had multiple relationship breakdowns, should you be going to them for relationship advice, NO. This needs to be revaluated based on someone’s experience and know-how and most important success in that specific area.
Who is part of your trusted tribe?
We have all been through a time of isolation over the last 12 months due to lockdown. There is a lot of uncertainty floating in the air in relation to our future. It is the time to start building a trusted support network, we need people who are like trusted tribe. They could be friends, family or a work colleagues that we can go to when we need advice and support. But we can go beyond our social circle to find life mentors, people who are successful in these specific areas of life. We need to move forward and seek out our ideal trusted tribe. People who are successful and you admire and respect for in the following specific areas:
If you start to build your social support network and turn connections into relationships, then relationships into friends and friends into trusted advisors. In return this will provide you with more confidence to face the adversities that life throws at us. We will be more prepared and resilient mentally and physically to take on and deal with problems or barriers in work and home life. We will stop avoiding certain situations and start to look at them from a different perspective. Approaching challenges in a positive way because we are not making these decisions on our own, we have our trusted tribe.
We can now start to lift our heads up and look to the future because we have the ability, knowledge and other peoples’ life experiences to start to move forward by setting new life aspirations and goals with a strong support network behind you.
by Stephen Robinson – Founder of It’s Mental
Premium Members of "It's Mental" can access Stephen's "Self Help Session" on this topic as well as a myriad of other wellbeing videos. Members Log-in
Not a member and would like to discover more? Create a Free Account