Have you ever heard the saying, “pick friends that are the types of people you would want to be like?” The meaning of this saying came from the strong ability of our social circle to influence our interests, clothing, mannerisms and diet. Whether you like it or not, there are going to positive or negative effects on your life and health depending on the group of people you surround yourself with.
Research indicates it’s actually worse for your health to isolate yourself. In fact, the studies in The Effects of Social and Economic Policy: The Promise and Challenge for Research and Policy show that individuals with lower involvement in social relationships are at a higher risk for health problems than those who have greater involvement. In the end, you’re better off with more friends than seeking exclusion.
That said, let’s examine the positive and negative sides of your friendship circle when it comes to your health. The great thing about having more health-conscious friends is that their healthy habits will also rub off onto you. For example, if you’re close with a coworker and they take a break to go on a walk, they’re most likely going to ask you to go with them. This will eventually turn into a habit of your own, according to research by the Mayo Clinic. On the other hand, they might have the habit of eating junk food, like a donut, and whether you realise this or not but you are bound to give into peer pressure and decide to eat junk food as well.
So what do you do in the situation when the people closest to you are not making healthy decisions?
The only thing you can do is to try to influence more of your friends, family and coworkers to begin living healthier lifestyles. Remember, you do not have to be overbearing when doing this. The Mayo Clinic suggests that instead of making plans to go to a restaurant, ask them to go on an outing, like bike riding or taking a walk; do something that doesn’t involve food. Another suggestion is to ask your social circle if they’ll support you in making healthier decisions instead of trying to pressure you into bad ones. This will allow them to still make their own decisions while also encouraging and motivating you to stick to your goals.
The American Public Health Journal reiterated that enlisting your closest friends and family to embark on the journey to becoming healthier with you may be the most effective approach. In fact, this is the most powerful way your social circle can be a beneficial influence on you. A healthy, positive social circle will only encourage your success long-term. That said, in end, it’s really up to you. There’s no need to get rid of any of your friends, just be aware of what influence they have over you and vice versa.
One great friend to have or to be is a nutrition and wellness coach. As a nutrition and wellness coach, you’ll be able to learn what kind of diets work for various people and be a positive force in someone’s life. Discover the positive impact you can take part in with our nutrition and wellness coaching program and what we offer at WellSpring online or call us at 866-443-9140 today!