The secret to happiness may have been found!
A study has suggested an important factor that could be influential in determining one’s happiness.
A team of researchers from the Nottingham Trent University found that people who felt a sense of belonging to social groups were happier, according to the Telegraph. These individuals, the research said, were able to identify themselves with a particular group like friends or in their community.
“Our findings suggest that thinking more about one’s group life could have significant benefits for an overall sense of wellbeing,” Dr. Juliet Wakefield, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University, said.
“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.”
The study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, involved as many as 4,000 people and the respective groups they identified themselves with. The researchers also suggested that belonging to a group offered individuals a heightened sense of purpose and security. Being part of a group also provided them social support during their times of need.
“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,” Dr. Wakefield said.
“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.”