Friends and family are meaning a lot to many people. There has been a lot of research of getting social contacts and there well-being. In this article there will be described how having a social life with friends and family, will influences your happiness.
Happiness, what is it?
In psychology there is a whole flow which focuses on happiness: positive psychology. To be happy you have to meet two conditions: pleasure and satisfaction. Pleasure can be described as: the ability to enjoy. Satisfaction is the feeling that your life is meaningful. You get this feeling because you are good at the things you do, you feel connected with the people around you and you experience freedom in the choices you make.
Friendship and family
There has been a lot of research about happiness and how others can influence this happiness. Like discussed before, feeling connected to other people can contribute to feeling happy. Research of Harvard Medical School and the University of California (2008) show that when somebody feels happy in a social network and shares it with the other people of this social network, their happiness will increase with three lucky grades. Also Christakis and Fowler wrote about it in the book: Connected. They describe that all people are connected to each other by invisible lines. When one feels happy, the other will feel happier too.
Family, one has more contact with the family then the other. The influences of the family on your happiness can differ between different cultures. In some cultures, especially from the East of the world, there is a lot of interference from the families. This is in contrast to the culture of the western part of the world. Both has its benefits. In the western countries the biggest disadvantage is that people are often lonelier, in the not western country you have this issue less. Mostly because in these countries family is a very important aspect, a lot of value is attached to family. There is a lot of support by family, which means that you are feeling less lonely.
Ruut Veenhoven described that having a relationship has influence on your happiness too. Through relationships you might experience the feeling of meaningfulness: that your life has more meaning. Relationships do not have to mean intimate relations only, other relationships like friendship have the same effect. Keeping a relationship is not that easy.In a relationship it is important to be yourself. You can reach this by being open and talk about it with your partner or friends/family. In the article ‘Being yourself in a relationship’, you will read more about how to be yourself.