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The Social Happiness Factor

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under blog

I will get back to a more strictly financial theme in a week or two, but today I want to talk a bit more about health and longevity. Without those two things in your life, making a ton of money does not end up being very important. Making money, growing it, and keeping it are very important in anyone’s life but it is not the most important thing we work towards.

Years ago, someone asked, after the death of the richest man in the world at that time, Howard Hughes, “How much money did Howard Hughes leave when he died?” And that question was answered in three simple words: “All of it.” You can’t take it with you and it’s doesn’t help you much if you aren’t here to enjoy it.

Although I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to eat right and exercise for good health and longevity, there is one more critical element that has been proven to boost your health and add years to your life, something that I think we all need to pay more attention to. It is the “social” aspect of your life. Having an active social life also lifts your “happiness factor”, as Seth Godin points out in his book, Tribes.

There are some very good studies that shows how having a strong and active social life helps extend your longevity. I read an article by Holly Richardson last year where she told of a study on 3,000 women who had breast cancer. The article says, they “found that those who went through cancer alone were four times more likely to die from their disease than those with 10 or more supportive people.” The article goes on to note that a “six-year study in Sweden found that men with heart disease were much less likely to have heart attacks if they had good friends around them than those without that social support.”

From my casual observation, I’ve notice that the older many people get, especially men, the less social they are, whereas women tend to stay more social. Maybe that is one reason that women tend to outlive men.

I’ve noticed in my own life that the older I get the less I tend to expand my social life. I used to have a number of “tribes” that I belonged to but now basically I have only my “tennis tribe” and the other is a social club my wife and I belong to. But like I’ve said in many past blogs, “When I start preaching for my readers to challenge themselves in different parts of their life, I am also preaching to myself.”  And now by writing this blog I find I am pushing myself to create or join another tribe or two, knowing that I will most likely expand my social life and lift my happiness and contentment levels in the process.

Norway is said to have the happiest people in the world and it’s because they have broader and better social relationships. Norway was ranked the happiest nation by the 2017 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It has been found that in addition to a good social life, happiness also comes from helping others such as taking part in volunteer work.

So now we know two more thing that will help us live fuller and longer lives, and it’s something besides making money. It’s getting out and being social and helping others. Now those are some great goals you can look forward to creating and fulfilling!