This week on Winning In Life, Angus Pryor the Practice Growth Specialist will be sharing with you about having a social life and simply being happier.
ANow today, I’m talking to you about being happier and about boosting your social life, and it comes from this book called “Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Connect” by a UCLA, that’s University of California, Los Angeles, a professor called Matthew Lieberman. And what they cover in this book is the results of some very interesting research using something called a functional MRI.
Now, perhaps you’ve heard of an MRI before, it’s magnetic resonance imagining, often used for scans. It’s kind of like x-ray but at the next level. And the functional MRI, like a usual MRI is to look for sickness and illness and so on. A functional MRI, they use this to see how our brains respond to certain stimulus, to certain things. And what they found is that the human brain is massively more wired to social connections than we ever thought in the past.
There are a couple of key things in this book that really stuck out for me. One of them is simply this. Increasing the social connections in our life is probably the single easiest way to enhance our wellbeing. So if you’re not feeling super happy at the moment, then chances are you need to be more social.
And as I say, this is not just the opinion of this guy, this is actually through doing scans of the brain. One other comment that I thought was very interesting, and there’s so much I could mention, is that social factors have got a more positive impact on wellbeing than income. And, in fact, what some studies have done is tried to put a dollar value on the benefit and wellbeing of different social things.
So if you can imagine, they said, “Well, let’s imagine I’m earning X now and then I earn $20,000 more and that might make me feel 1% happier.” Well then they contrasted that 1% happier, that 20 grand of value from finance with some other activity and, I mean, that part’s a bit arbitrary but I thought it raises a very interesting point. For example, volunteering. People who volunteer once a week, the increase in their wellbeing was equivalent to the increase associated with increasing their salary from 20,000 to $75,000 a year. So bottom line, we are wired to be social, and if you want to feel happier, you’ve got to be more social.