Research consistently shows that people, who have strong social ties, are happier and more content with life than people who do not.
How does this play out in the real world?
People, who live in countries with political strife and economic problems, but strong social ties, are among the happiest people in the world.
Even in the United States the same pattern can be found. According to data collected in 2009, people living in Louisiana were among the happiest people in the United States. Social bonds, not wealth or ambition, are the key to leading a happy life.
A quote from an article in the Atlantic highlighting importance of social bonds:
“In a 2004 study, social scientists John Helliwell and Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, examined the well-being of a large sample of people in Canada, the United States, and in 49 nations around the world. They found that social connections — in the form of marriage, family, ties to friends and neighbors, civic engagement, workplace ties, and social trust — “all appear independently and robustly related to happiness and life satisfaction, both directly and through their impact on health.”
In Canada and the United States, having frequent contact with neighbors was associated with higher levels of well-being, as was the feeling of truly belonging in a group. “If everyone in a community becomes more connected, the average level of subjective well-being would increase,” they wrote.
This may explain why Latin Americans, who live in a part of the world fraught with political and economic problems, but strong on social ties, are the happiest people in the world, according to Gallup. It may also explain why Dreher’s Louisiana came in as the happiest state in the country in a major study of 1.3 million Americans published in Science in 2009. This surprised many at the time, but makes sense given the social bonds in communities like Starhill. Meanwhile, wealthy states like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California were among the least happiest…”