Why We Need Good People Around Us For Well-BeingNov 20, 2022
The quality of our social connections to other people can make or break our health and well-being. This is why, people are an essential area of the Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle. In this article, we will deep dive into why we need good people around us for well-being. We also provide a quick start guide that can help you improve your social connections if you feel they are not optimal.
Our vision at Live better, not perfect is to empower millions of people to consistently strive for optimal well-being. We all can actively take our destiny into our own hands and work on improving the various areas that influence our well-being and happiness. Today we cover the people aspect.
People Are an Essential Part in the Well-Being Triangle
Our vision at Live better, not perfect is to empower millions of people to consistently strive for optimal well-being. In order to achieve this we base our work on the Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle. We described the details of this model in the previous article How To Consistently Strive For Optimal Well-Being: The Livebnp Triangle. It covers three areas, which are essential for well-being:
- Health: Good health is the basis for a happy life. This is why it also forms the basis of our triangle. The article A Solid Foundation For Optimal Well-Being: Our Health goes into detail about the health aspect.
- People: In a sense, the people around us and our relationships with them make our lives meaningful. Apart from the fact that we need other people for plain survival, people actually make being alive worthwhile. Not many enjoy living in complete solitude for an extended period of time.
- Growth: Personal growth and development is the constant drive to improve yourself in whatever aspect you deem important. It includes the enhancement of quality of life and the work towards the realization of dreams.
While we can work on and improve the three elements of the triangle individually, they are all also strongly interconnected. If we improve one element, it will have a positive knock-on effect on the others. This leads to a positive feedback loop that will help us consistently optimize well-being for us and the people around us – exactly following our vision at Live better, not perfect.
Why Sane Relationships Are Important for Well-Being
Humans are herd animals. Throughout history, we only survived in groups because we could depend on each other. So, purely from the survival, security, providing, and physiological aspects we need each other.
But there is more.
It was proven that having sane relationships with each other makes us healthy. On the contrary, not having relationships or having bad relationships will make us sick. We will cover this in more detail in the next section. Based on these insights from scientific studies, the American Psychological Association (APA) prompts psychologists to call for making strong relationships a public health priority. With this sane relationships should be on the same level of importance as obesity, diabetes, or drug addiction.
A very interesting and thought-provoking experiment was conducted in the UK: the Loneliness Project. In the UK alone, 1.2 million people are chronically lonely. Over half a million older people in the UK go up to a week without seeing anyone. This experiment asks participants to stay for a week in their flat completely alone with no phone and no contact whatsoever. It shows very impressively how nerve-wracking it can be to be lonely. Here is a great video that captures some of the key moments.
The Benefits of Having Good People Close
Jim Rohn, who is an American self-made millionaire, book author, and motivational speaker with a lot of really good stuff to say, once wrote that we are the average of the five people around us who we spend the most time with.
This is actually based on the science of statistics. Statisticians refer to this as the Law of Averages which is the theory that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. This can be observed in every domain, hence also in relationships.
We are constantly influenced by the people around us -- if we see it or not or if we like it or not. That is a fact. Research shows that we are more affected by outside influences than we think. It affects our decisions, our development, our thinking, and even our self-esteem.
The conclusion of this for us should obviously be to try and surround ourselves with good people. This can be challenging -- we will discuss a step-by-step guide later in this article -- but it is so worth it and it will improve your well-being in the long run. Good people will raise your standards, will challenge you, and will make you aim higher and become healthier and better.
According to the Better Health Channel of the Australian government, positive relationships have a lot of health benefits including:
- Lower rates of anxiety and depression
- Higher self-esteem
- More trust and cooperation
- Stronger immune system
- Faster recovery from disease
- May even lengthen your life
All of these may be the result of positive connections to other good people in your life. On balance, from these connections, you will get positive energy. This is basically a byproduct that does not require extra work. What does require work is finding good people, building solid relationships, and maintaining them.
Another extremely powerful side effect is that these connections will make you healthier and happier. As a consequence other people will tend to be more in touch with you, which generates a positive feedback loop to improve your social, mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
But it’s not all pink unicorn rainbow farts. Let’s take a look at the downsides.
The Effect of Toxic Relationships
The APA as mentioned earlier in this article puts a heavy emphasis on social connections to improve health. Their research also concluded that negative or even toxic relationships can have a severe impact on our well-being. Consequences of such social connections can include disrupted sleep patterns, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, or increased cortisol. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” It is a hormone that is released when we are under stress. This is per se a good thing because it helps trigger all the necessary body functions to cope with that stressful situation. However, it can be dangerous if this hormone is released too often or even constantly. It can lead to obesity, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, or even weak bones.
Hence, obesity can also be a negative consequence of toxic relationships. APA also showed that more severe consequences can include antisocial behavior, escape into addiction such as smoking, gaming, alcohol, or other drugs, and even depression (including the risk of suicide).
In the next section, we want to provide a simple quick start guide that will help you evaluate and improve your social connections.
Our Quick Start Guide to Improve the People Area of the Triangle
By now the importance of having good people around should be clear. The challenge is how we can achieve that. It’s hard to find good people. It’s hard to replace people. Sometimes relationships start amazing but then can turn toxic.
It is always about the energy balance which should be in your favor; or at least balanced. It’s about our well-being, so we can be a little bit selfish. We need to look at this over an extended period of time. It’s normal that sometimes friends or family have a bad time and need more of us and hence may consume our energy. But this should be a fair give and time. If someone constantly drains you of energy or constantly has a negative impact on you, you should consider changing this situation for your own health and well-being.
Here we put together a quick start guide that you can follow to change if you find yourself in such a situation.
1. Take a Look at the People in Your Environment
The first step is to gain awareness by analyzing your current situation. Actively pay attention to whom you interact with over the course of a month. Take notes on how much time you spend with that person, which medium you use, and how you feel after the interaction.
2. Who Are Energy-Takers vs. Energy-Givers?
Next, classify those interactions and the people into energy givers and energy takers.
3. Is the Balance Right?
Take a close look if the balance between the givers and takers is right. Also consider if some of the takers may be in a temporary problematic situation where they need you, or if it’s constant. If it’s all balanced or even better, it’s in your favor, you can stop here. Congratulations! Your people aspect of the Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle is in good shape.
4. Who Do You Need to Cut Out Completely?
If the balance is constantly to your disadvantage, you need to react. Now, take a look at the energy takers. If there are any who you can easily cut out, do it. This could be a client or a work colleague. Someone not too close. Just stop interacting. Close down whatever relationship you have. Explain it or not, up to you, and move it. It’s for your own well-being.
5. Who Should You Give Less of Your Attention to?
The first group was easy to do. The second group is hard. These are typically close relationships, like family members. It’s almost impossible to cut them out, and/or it would be very painful. But at least you can distance yourself. You can openly discuss this with that person. That is probably a useful thing to do anyway as the other person may not be aware of the negative impact that he or she has on you. You can also recommend finding help somewhere else. Maybe this person indeed needs professional help. In any case, the burden on you should be reduced or taken off of your shoulders completely.
Our article How and When to Forgive for Personal Growth could also be very useful in this regard.
6. Who Should You See More?
Finally, there may also be people who have a very positive influence on you but for whatever reason, you are not in touch with them so much. If they are good for you and if they see it similarly, this could be a fun and effective way to improve the balance of the people aspect of the Well-Being Triangle.
Sharpen Your Axe
A final word of caution:
Having the best people around you does not mean only selecting people who constantly pat your back or admire you. On the contrary, to really grow and improve your well-being you need people who challenge you and some are critical of you. Ideally in a polite way but honestly. This may show you blind spots and will help you to become better over time. Related to this, a Forbes article discusses that 6 Types of People Build Your Mental Toughness. In order to sharpen your axe, make sure that there is a good mix of people in your inner circle.
You're The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With
In this article, we discussed the people aspect of the Live better, not perfect Well-Being Triangle. Toxic relationships make us mentally, emotionally, and after some time even physically sick. Be careful who you select in your inner circle. The people aspect is very powerful and can make or break you on your journey to optimal well-being. If you find yourself in a situation where some of your social connections are not ideal, try our quick start guide that can help to improve this situation.
In addition, you may find our Live better, not perfect membership useful. As part of this membership, we deliver your blueprint to optimal well-being. It is an exclusive membership to achieve better health & happiness through expert guidance, education, and support of a vibrant community.
Do you also want to strive for optimal well-being? Then discover our awesome community of individuals aiming to Live better, not perfect.
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