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Blog Authored by:  Jeanne Hines, SPHR

“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”—Swedish Proverb

In our comprehensive approach to well being, there are five elements which form the framework for a healthy lifestyle:  career, social, financial, physical and community well-being.  Previous blogs have focused on the general concept as well as the first element, career well-being.  That brings us to today’s topic, social well-being.

In today’s busy world, we have created electronic social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  In the blink of an eye, we can connect with family, friends and acquaintances and possibly connect to the friends of our friends.   While an electronic social network can’t replace in-person, shared experiences, it can enhance our chances of meeting new people and expanding our connections. 

Friends may have as much influence on us as our genetics.  When your friends have healthy habits, it’s more likely that you will adopt them.  As we know, peer pressure has a powerful effect.

According to researchers, a strong social network can improve your life in many ways:

  • When your friends and family help to divide your grief, your cardiovascular function is improved as well as experiencing a decrease in stress.
  • Workplace friendship improves the chances that employees will be engaged.
  • When you have healthy friends, it improves the odds that you will adopt their behaviors.

To increase your own well-being, start working on your social network.  The best place to start is with one close friendship.  Studies have shown that you need to be social for an average of six hours per day, whether at work or otherwise.  Make time in your calendar for shared physical activity.  When you exercise with a friend, you not only gain someone with whom to receive inspiration and motivation, but you could be improving your health and longevity.

To learn more about how the five elements can improve your well-being, read, Well Being, The Five Essential Elements, by Tom Rath and Jim Harter or keep reading this blog.  Next time, the focus will be on Financial well-being.

 

Posted 8:12 AM  View Comments

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