Have you ever noticed that the friends you spend a lot of time with impact how you act? If they go to the beach a lot, you most likely do too. If they go to the pub a lot, you most likely do too. If they go to the park a lot with their children, you most likely do too. That is, of course, if you have children.
What is interesting about many of our social activities, according to more and more scientific research, is that they are contagious so if you want to make a habit of something new, you need to spend time with people who can infect you with the positive behaviour you desire. If you want to motivate yourself more to take better care of your health and to exercise start hanging around with a fitness fanatic. If you want to feel less stressed start making friends with people who are manage stress better than you.
Nicholas Christakis, a researcher at Harvard Medical School along with his colleague James Fowler have done extensive research on our social interactions relating to our health and wellness. Christakis calls our tendency to follow the healthy (or unhealthy) habits of friends ‘social chain reaction’.
It is worth noting that the chance of you being influenced by another’s healthy living behaviour (or you influencing them to embrace a positive behaviour) depends on whether you respect and value that person. They do not have to live close by they just have to be a person you respect enough to follow some of their actions. For example, you may have a friend in a different country who inspires you to try out a new diet program.
In one sentence, this emerging branch of social science reminds us that we can help nourish our health and well being more in the direction we want to go by spending time with people whose habits we desire to acquire.
Enjoy a wonderful day,
P.S. You can follow the link of the image below to read about Dr. Christakis Award Winning (and Oprah recommended) book called Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives
You can learn more about Dr. Christakis social science relating to wellness on his website located here.