by Mark Molloy, London Telegraph Newspaper, 5/20/16.
The pursuit of happiness can be a lifelong search for some – but researchers believe they may have found a key factor in feeling a greater overall sense of wellbeing.Individuals who feel a strong sense of belonging to social groups are much happier people, according to new research by psychologists.
Nottingham Trent University researchers found that the more an individual identified with a particular group, such as family, in their local community or through a hobby, the happier they were with their life. “Our findings suggest that thinking more about one’s group life could have significant benefits for an overall sense of wellbeing,” said Dr Juliet Wakefield, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University. “We tend to identify with groups that share our values, interests and life priorities, as well as those that support us in times of crisis, and we can see how this would link to happiness. Our work taps into knowledge that is deep within all of us, but which we often forget due to the fast-paced and achievement-focused nature of modern life – that to be your best self, you tend to require the support of others.”
They studied how 4,000 participants felt connected to certain groups, and then measured the impact this had upon their levels of happiness. She added: “It’s important to note that identifying with a group isn’t the same as membership, though. You can be a member of a group with which you feel no connection at all. It’s that subjective sense of belonging that’s crucial for happiness.
“Healthcare professionals should encourage people to join groups that they are interested in, or which promote their values and ideals, as well as advising people to maintain association with groups they already belong to. Simple social interventions such as this could in turn help to reduce NHS expenditure and prevent future ill health.”
Read more at … http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/20/whats-the-secret-to-happiness-scientists-may-have-found-the-answ/
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