Choosing the right friends is key to happiness - Neuroscientists

* We should focus on choosing who we spend our time with, neuroscientist says
* Our brainwaves start to resemble those of the people we spend most time with
* This means you start becoming alike and pick up their desirable behaviours
* For a happy life people should minimise small decision-making

The best way to boost your happiness is to be very picky about who you spend time with, according to a neuroscientist.

Professor Moran Cerf from Northwestern University says we stop wasting our energy making small decisions such as what we want to do or wear, and instead focus on the only decision that counts.  

Choosing the right friends is important because it causes our brainwaves to resemble those of the people we spend most time with.

This means you start becoming alike, and pick up their desirable behaviours and ways of seeing the world without being conscious of it.

WHY IS IT SUCH AN IMPORTANT CHOICE?
When people spend time with each other their brainwaves start to resemble one another.
This means you will naturally pick up their behaviours and way of seeing the world without being conscious of it.
If people want to be make life improvements, such as reading more or getting better at cooking, they should spend their time with someone who has those desirable traits.

'This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike', said neuroscientist Moran Cerf from Northwestern University.

Researchers have previously suggested this 'neural coupling' is a key part of communication.
If we are on the same wavelength as someone else we can anticipate what they might say and therefore understand them better.

This in turn has an evolutionary advantage as it means we work better and faster as a team.

According to Dr Cerf the best way to achieve long-term satisfaction is to surround yourself with the right people.

'The more we study engagement, we see time and again that just being next to certain people actually aligns your brain with them', he said.

'This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.'

Dr Cerf believes that for a happy life people should minimise decision-making altogether. 

He claims we falsely believe making the right choices - such as choosing the right clothes or the right places to go on holiday - will make us more satisfied with our lives.
Indeed, Dr Cerf always chooses the second option on the specials menu when he's out precisely to reduce choice in daily life.

The more important decision we have when going to a restaurant is who to go with, he says.
He also believes we are not capable of making good decisions because our emotions turn rational choices into irrational ones.

If people want to be make life improvements, such as reading more or getting better at cooking, then should spend their time with someone who has those desirable traits and they will naturally pick them up, he claims.
Researchers have previously suggested this 'neural coupling' is a key part of communication.
If we are on the same wavelength as someone else we can anticipate what they might say and therefore understand them better.

This in turn has an evolutionary advantage as it means we work better and faster as a team.

In April researchers from New York University and Utrecht University found people's brainwaves sync up with their colleagues at work. They used electroencephalography technology (EEG) to record the brain activity of students and their teacher over the course of a term.

This is a non-invasive method of recording the electrical activity of the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp.
Students were asked how much they liked each other and the teacher, and also reported how much they liked group activities in general.

The results showed a positive correlation between a student's ratings of the course and the student's brain synchrony with her classmates as a group.
In other words, the more a student's brain waves were in sync with those in the classroom as a whole, the more likely she was to give the course a favourable rating.

The researchers also found that pairs of students who felt closer to each other were more in sync during class, but only if they interacted face-to-face just before class.

This suggests that having face-to-face interaction before sharing an experience matters – even if you're not interacting in the experience itself.

Not only do friends make us happy, but bonds between friends get much stronger with age.
Eventually, they can even outweigh the benefits of family relationships, according to a study published in June.

Friendships play a key role in health and happiness – especially as we get older, revealed dual studies involving thousands of participants around the world.

These relationships can ‘make a world of difference,’ researchers say, and even affect how we respond to illness.

The research from Michigan State University included two studies: one on relationships and self-rated health and happiness, and another on relationship support/strain and chronic illness.

‘Friendships become even more important as we age,’ said William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology.
‘Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being.

‘So it’s smart to invest in the friendship that makes you happiest.’

Mailonline

Rate this item
(0 votes)
/index.php?option=com_templates