Increasing the world’s happiness quotient
one resolution at a time
The Happiness Goals Countdown continues today with a reminder that friends make you happy. Instead of putting off contacting a good friend, it’s time to set the goal to connect every week.
Compelling research shows friends make you happy. They help your challenges seem easier. And their presence keeps your spirits up during hard times.
Best friends have the greatest impact on your happiness. A 2007 study “Close friendships and happiness among young adults" by Demir of Wayne State University showed that a best friend could lift your happiness by 19 percent!
Friends increase your happiness because they make your challenges feel less difficult. A 2008 experiment conducted by Schnall and colleagues studied people’s visual perception of a steep hill. It did not seem so steep to people who had a friend with them.
And friends help us deal with tough issues. No one can always avoid negative experiences. But friends buffer us from stress. A 2011 article published in Developmental Psychology by Adams and his colleagues found that people who faced negative experiences with support from a friend kept a higher sense of self worth than those who were alone.
The study also measured the stress hormone cortisol in the subjects. Friends kept people’s cortisol levels lower than those coping with difficulties by themselves.
Strong friendships will increase your personal happiness. That weekly chat on the phone or lunch date will help you feel happier. Your burdens will weigh less on you. And your stress will stay under control.
And you’ll be able to return the favor. Your friend will have troubles to share. Your sympathetic presence will help them stay happy too. You’ll be there to do a good deed, which leads us into the next Happiness Goal.
Watch your email for the next message in the Happiness Goals Countdown. It’ll be about the happiness that comes from doing good deeds!
Artist: John Singer Sargent