Health

Breast Cancer & Friendship

"Slow down! Don't do it alone!" the stranger said to me as he passed me on my morning jog. I tried to force a polite smile, but what I really thought was: "What kind of a guy has the audacity to tell me what pace to set as though he thinks he's my coach? And who is he to care if I'm running alone this morning?" I rolled my eyes after I passed him and kept jogging.

Then horns began honking, pink pom-poms were seemingly spilling out from passing cars, and in front of me a group of five women cheered in response. Then two more in front of them followed suit. As those cars made their way down the busy street, small little groups of women, flashes of pink dotting the sidewalk, seemed appreciative of the praise. I looked around in confusion, shaken out of my jogging rhythm.

Almost as soon as I became conscious to the energy around me, I quickly realized I was not alone in my jog today.  Apparently my typical exercise route was being shared today with the amazing women participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Race for the Cure. They were seemingly everywhere on this busy street leading into the park.

Unknowingly, I had joined them on their course! And since my outfit was black and pink, I fit right in, looking like one of them!

I chuckled, feeling pride at what all these women and men were doing. My heart swelled with appreciation for their energy toward this cause.

Then I suddenly felt guilty.

Not only for being cheered as though I were steps away from completing the 60 mile, 3-day race (when in fact I was simply a girl trying to get a couple of miles in on a day that otherwise was a lazy Sunday); but also because I had appeared to be a solo jogging dissenter in an event that promoted community and walking.

If Life Could Be... I crossed the street and spent the rest of my run pondering how amazing life would be if we could model this race:

  • Where who you do it with counts more than how fast you do it.
  • Where in fact, pacing oneself for the long-haul is of higher value than speeding past someone.
  • Where the journey matters more than simply reaching the destination.
  • Where we care more about our health than our appearance (I saw some seriously 'over-the-top' outfits today! LOL!)
  • Where slowing down to walk with someone who's tired is more the purpose than a delay.
  • Where it matters more to us that we "all" make it, not just me.
  • Where strangers feel bonded because of a combined passion for a cause.
  • Where women cheer for each other, rather than compete.
  • Where men look over-joyed to be driving in cars covered in pink, honking for women and their success.

Oh to live in such a world!

The Friendship & Breast Cancer Link

Consider the headlines we’ve all seen from research out of the University of Chicago: Loneliness Heightens Risk of Breast Cancer. While we all feel the pull to do more, be more, and be better than everyone else, a reminder that sometimes just increasing the stress in our lives (to be the one jogging up the hill alone) while everyone else walks in groups, isn't necessarily success.

And the New York Times reported on the 2006  study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer that found that "women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. And notably, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend wasn’t associated with survival. Just having friends was protective."

I share the research not to add any fear or guilt, but to give hope.  To remind us that when we feel tempted to withdraw, there is enough data to nudge us to reach out. And it's never too late to invite more love into your life.

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness! So this October, as we are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, send your cards of celebration to the women who have survived this disease, and honor the memories of those who didn't. Wear your pink proudly and buy those products whose proceeds support the awareness and research we still need in this battle. Schedule your mammograms and value your breast health more than your breast size.

But above all, perhaps the wisdom of the stranger who cheered me on this morning might become your mantra this month? Words to be taken seriously: "Slow down! Don't do it alone!"

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To subscribe to Shasta's Friendship Blog (a weekly article on friendship, relational health, and personal growth) enter your email address in the top right corner. Shasta is the Founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women's friendship matching site.

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Easy Contest: A Save the Ta-Ta's Give-Away!

Ever since last spring when I met Julia Fiske, the founderof Save the Ta-Ta's (read about my mistake that almost cost me a friendship with her!)-- I've been a fan of their fun t-shirts that help fund research (they donate a portion of every purchase) while increasing the smiles on our faces.  The one pictured on this posting, "now is all we have",  is one of my fave's and they are going to send one of my lucky readers this awesome shirt!  :)

To be the lucky winner who has this shirt, in your chosen size, mailed to your house all you have to do is re-post/share this blog on your facebook AND be sure to tag our facebook page (@www.girlfriendcircles.com) so we can track your share! Contest ends at noon (PST) on Friday, Oct. 28. Winner will be selected randomly from those who share this post!

Step-by-Step Directions: To share this post on your facebook page:

1) first make sure you're a facebook fan of www.GirlFriendCircles.com by liking our page so you can tag us. 

2) Either copy/paste the blog post url into your facebook update or simply select the facebook sharing icon at the end of this post and it will do it automatically.

3) Write whatever status you want to share with your friends, highlighting this blog posting, and be sure to tag us by selecting the "@" key in your update, and start typing "girlfriendcircles" which should give you the option to select us, posting your update to our wall so we can track your involvement! (Should you have any problem tagging us-- simply share the post on your wall and come comment on our wall that you did it!)

THANKS! We'll announce the winner on our facebook page on Friday and contact her!

Yin Yoga Inspired Wisdom for the Friend-Making Process

A girlfriend invited a few of us to a yoga class last Thursday. Intrigued and moved by that practice of yin yoga, I signed my husband and myself up for a 3-hour workshop yesterday (ah, he's such a good sport!)  Two classes in four days, an expert I am not. An impressed student, I am.  For those of my readers who are stepping into new friendships, the applications are profound. What can We Learn about Friend-Making from Yin Yoga?

1)   Discomfort is Expected. In the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, we are reminded that things that seem contrary, are interconnected.  That which seems dark, has light in it; and exists only in relation to its opposite. What moved me in yin yoga was the invitation to step into discomfort, showing trust in the human experience that we are capable of embracing and growing from all experiences.

yin-yang

Much like leaning down to touch your toes and finding that place where there is slight pain, our goal wasn't to simply be okay if we felt it; it was the expectation that we would go there.  And stay there. In that place where we were stretched, expanded and slightly uncomfortable.

What struck me is our tendency as humans to link all pain in one category to be avoided. To know the difference between sharp, shooting pain that injures, and the sensations of discomfort that brings benefits in the process is critical.

As women who value new friends, what would it look like to allow for discomfort in the process? If we expected the fact that getting together the first time was going to be awkward? If we simply accepted that the process was going to be slightly uncomfortable and unnatural feeling? And most important, that we chose to embrace that part of the experience, refusing to avoid it or walk away?  Courageously admitting that feeling the stretch is worth it even if we feel slight fear or embarrassment? Choosing to initiate a get-together, RSVP'ing for a ConnectingCircle, walking through the door to meet strangers, being willing to share a little about yourself, insisting upon following up and doing it again.

Not all discomfort needs to be avoided.

2.  The Value is in the Long Hold. Yin Yoga participants hold a passive pose (designed to lubricate the joints and connective tissues of your body, stimulate the flow of energy, and bring the body-mind into a state of deep relaxation) for several minutes.  That means we aren't just instructed to reach that discomfort and then retreat.  We are called to stay there.  And what we do there is transformative.

 

Dina Amsterdam

In the midst of slight pain, feeling the stretch, we are invited to do three things: breath, be aware of all things we're feeling and experiencing, and respond quietly with loving kindness.

 

Our knee jerk reactions to things that frustrate us or feel yucky is to retreat, to pull away, to react harshly, to judge it as bad.  In this practice, we are called to stay in that space, embracing it as part of the full human experience.  Teaching ourselves to breathe through the moment, holding non-judgmental attentiveness for how we feel, invokes in us a courage that we can do the same in real-world situations.

When we are looking for friendships, we are often disappointed when it's not instant or automatic. Much like Yin Yoga, to build friendships that matter, we are asked to stay, to push further, to lean in and to stay there. To ask a follow-up question, to share a little more, to invite her to another time together, to follow through on our agreement to be present.

Refusing to retreat from awkwardness is when we experience the value.

3.  The Benefit is Felt in the Aftermath. As kids, we would sometimes cut off the blood supply to our tightly clenched fists because we loved that feeling of letting go of our wrists, feeling the tingle as our white knuckles turned red again in the release.  In this form of yoga, after holding a specific stretch for a while, I had a similar feeling when finally we could lay down flat.

Laying on my back, my body felt congruent, released, relaxed, strong, calm, grounded and centered. I don't know the science behind the poses but apparently energy channels were opened and my body was responding. I couldn't have arrived here without first agreeing to the challenging pose.

Unfortunately, we aren't known to be good judges when we only base our judgments on the immediate pay-off. The friend-making process is comparative.  At first, the actual time together isn't always the easy part.  It's only after numerous times together that we usually begin to feel the benefits.  It's worth noting though that even in meaningful conversations with strangers we are still lowering our stress, strengthening our immune system, and increasing our endorphins.  We are benefiting even when it feels awkward; and even if we don't feel it until later.

We'd miss out on much if we though it had to feel good now to be good.

I left the class feeling brave, open and strong.  Reminding myself that I can breathe through moments that are uncomfortable. Holding confidence that since I know the difference between harmful pain and valuable pain, I don't need to lump the two together. Trusting in life as a process where there is both light and dark, good and bad, hot and cold--and that I can show loving kindness in all.  Using all these experiences to learn about myself, express gratitude and show up more fully.

We don't have to retreat.  We can engage. Even when it's uncomfortable. Especially then.

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Does this resonate? I'd love to hear when you're most tempted to retreat, or the value you've found in pushing through the awkward!

 

 

 

 

Friendship Challenges that Come With Age

Someday when I'm ninety I look forward to making a comparison of what it was like making new friends in each decade, in different life stages. Until I have personal experience that only comes with more birthdays, I can only guess and lean on women who share what it's like from their vantage point.  Here's what I've heard so far, and I look forward to your comments to teach me more!

Friend-Making In Our Twenties, Thirties & Forties

In some ways, being in my twenties felt most challenging.  The New York Times reported,

One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch.

Those kinds of statistics take friend-making to a whole new level!  Add to all those transitions our own search for figuring out who we are after a decade of trying to be like everyone else.  We're getting our feet on the ground, but a lot still feels uncertain!

The thirties seem to bring polarizing life choices to friendships-- the decision to have kids (when, how many, how to raise, whether to stay-at-home or not) marriages and divorces, increased awareness around wanting to live life around our personal values even if the outcome is less than popular, the financial disparity that was less existent when we were all in our first jobs, etc.  Somehow we all felt like we had more in common in our twenties and now we're not so sure what commonality holds us together.

The forties seem to be where most women report the most exhaustion.  Maybe they just admit it more?  Or maybe they actually do feel it more now as their too-full schedules with kids and career seem to leave them feeling a great sense of disconnection to what they once valued.   The ever-present tired feeling can make it hard to want to schedule the time a new friendship demands.  And it seems they don't always feel especially close to the women they actually call their friends (mostly work connections and their children's social calendar network) so just adding more people into life certainly wouldn't be appealing.

Friend-Making Over Fifty...

But it's when we're in our fifties that it seems we report the most loneliness.

Kids, careers and spouses were effective ways to meet new friends in the younger days, but as our kids move out, divorces occur and we cut back on working at the office, those popular areas of commonality become less helpful in forging introductions.  Plus, the life experiences of baby-boomers now decidedly include having their own fair-share of death, divorce, loss and disappointment, which increasingly heightens the desire to have real friends, not just a social network.

Another challenge to friendships for those facing retirement, which often includes a new move closer to grand kids, to a warmer place or to a dream house, could mean leaving behind a network of local friends and starting the process all over at a time where you want to be reaping the benefits of time already put in.

Even without a move, in retirement, the disparity between financial freedom, health & fitness levels, relationship status, hobbies and life choices might become more obvious within a circle of friends.  While one friend might view retirement as the time to go travel and live life up, another might feel it’s time to live cautiously and stay close to home.  Differences can feel heightened at an age where how one spends their time really matters to them.

Friend-Making All Along the Way Matters

It makes sense that as generations age, our awareness of the importance of caring for our physical and emotional health seems to intensify. Research has long shown the benefits of friendship to preventative & restorative health, increased happiness and lower stress levels, but as findings are connected to longevity, all of us should definitely take note.

In fact, Dr. Jacqueline Olds, a psychiatrist and prolific author says, "Aside from genetics, the two most important factors in longevity are exercise and a network of friends." And certainly as our exercise abilities change as we age, the friendship piece could play a stronger and more significant role in the quality of our life.

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Questions: Ladies, are you willing to tell us what decade you're in and how that impacts your friend-making journey?  Tell me what challenges it brings.  Tell me also what makes it more meaningful or easy at this life stage. I lean on your experience to help me better articulate the needs that are unique to your contemporaries.

 

Are New Friends Worth the Energy Output Required?

I hear from a lot of women who feel defeated in their friendship search, or simply feel like it cannot be a priority in their lives right now.  Many mistakenly think that friendship is the thing to cut when their lives get busy, express feeling guilty for asking their husbands to watch the kids so they can go spend time with a girlfriend, or conclude that since friendships are not happening naturally in their lives that they somehow just need to learn to live without a circle of friends. Maybe you've been there before? Maybe you're there now? Today I just wanted to poke my head in your inbox with a bit of a reminder about that pay-off.  You know the risks.  You know the difficulty.  You know the challenges.  You know the excuses to say no and give up.  You know how weary you feel.  Give me a moment to remind you what you're investing in!

Energy Output: The Investment can be Exhausting

It's a paradox that the actions that take energy also tend to reward us with the most energy. In many life moments, higher investments lead to higher pay-offs.

I mean, the very act of going to the gym is tiring for the vast majority of us, but the pay-off is, ironically, more energy. Most of us don't sit at work feeling fulfilled by the daily tasks and mountains of emails, but the sum total of that output seems to create a sense of achievement and meaning.  I know just on a recreation level that it would be easier and more comfortable to sit on my couch tonight watching TV, but that if I attend to my women's business group, I'll actually come home more rejuvenated than any show could provide. I've learned that most things in life aren't the easiest default option, but they do tend to be worth the investment.  And friendship is simply one of those things-- less meaningful in the beginning and a greater source of energy output, but the payoff is exponential.

Energy Input: The Payoff can be Exponential

Gallup's latest research revealed in the book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements

shows that there are five universal, interconnected elements that together reveal your overall well-being.  Apparently, liking what you do every day (career wellbeing) is the most significant factor to your overall health and happiness, but guess what number 2 is? Yep, social wellbeing, also known as "Do you like who you're doing life with?"

While you have undoubtedly heard me quote all kinds of research about how important your circle of friends is to your life, the research just continues to inspire!

  • You're Influenced by Entire Network. Our wellbeing is impacted by our entire social network. You are 6% more likely to be happy if your friend's friend's friend--count them, three degrees removed!-- is happy. The reverse is just as true.
  • Friends Impact More Than money. Compare the above 6% increase to the 2% increase in happiness if your annual income goes up $10,000! "This led the study's authors to conclude that that the wellbeing of friends and relatives is a more effective predictor of happiness than earning more money."
  • Your Health Prevention is at Stake. People with few social connections are at twice the risk of dying from heart disease or of catching a common cold (even though they're arguably exposed to more germs!)
  • Proximity Matters. A friend who lives within a mile will have way more positive influence on your wellbeing than friends across the country. (Why GFC advocates making local friends even though it's not as easy as picking up the phone to talk to your BFF in your hometown! It's worth it!)
  • Friendships Especially Important in Aging Well. One study showed that in adults over the age of 50, that their memories declined at half the rate if they were socially active compared to those who were least social.
  • You Need More than One BFF! Every additional close friendship adds to your wellbeing. "Our research has found that people who have at least three or four very close friendships are healthier, have higher wellbeing, and are more engaged in their jobs."
  • The More Time Invested, the Happier You Are:
    Every hour of daily social interaction increases your happiness by 10%!

    The data shows that to have a thriving day you need six hours of daily social time!  Six hours?!?!?! That even surprised me! Apparently regardless of personality types and other variables-- those who are thriving in life are reporting an average of six hours every day of connecting which can include: talking to friends, socializing at work, being on the phone, communicating on facebook, etc. Across the board, every hour of social connection added to your day increases your happiness almost 10%! (Isn't it ironic how easy it is to cancel on a friend when we've a bad day or skip out on socializing when we're depressed, when in actuality, that very act of connecting will raise our spirits?)

I know it's tiring.  I know.  I know it's discouraging at times, I know.

But I also know that this is one investment that promises the biggest pay-off to your overall happiness and health. No small thing!

May you be reminded that your willingness to engage, to meet new people, to initiate the next get-together, to schedule women into your life and to foster these friendships over time is proving to raise your wellbeing! And don't we all want that? ______________ * All research listed in this blog can be found in the chapter on Social Wellbeing in Gallup's latest book, Wellbeing by Tom Rath & Jim Harter. Purchasing their book provides a code for your access to take their Wellbeing Assessment.

Admitting We Need Friends

Almost every amazing weight loss story starts with the person describing that moment when they realized something had to change:  they didn't fit into a certain outfit, couldn't complete a specific activity, saw a picture of themselves that shocked them or had a doctor clearly articulate their impending consequences.  What's amazing is that that moment surely wasn't the first picture they saw of themselves, wasn't the first size they outgrew or wasn't their first trip to a doctors office.  Denial is powerful for a long time.... woman with weight gain

And I'm telling you what, there are a lot of us in denial about our need for more female friendship.

Feeling our Disconnection

At almost every networking event I attend, when I describe to strangers that I help match women up for friendship, I inevitably hit a nerve.

Women I barely know start telling me how they still feel the loss of a recent friend who drifted away, as though begging me to explain why it hurts so much.  Some will concur how difficult it was upon moving here to figure out how to date for friends, telling me wishfully about their good friends back in New York City, or wherever home was before here.  A few will inevitably tear up in recognition that they are one of the throngs of women who feel lonelier than they care to admit. It never ceases to amaze me how vast the need is felt.

And keep in mind, these are the confident and strong women who are willing to network after-hours for their businesses and seem to know everyone around them.  Yet they still feel unknown. Ironically, at a time when our Facebook friend and Twitter count is growing rapidly, so is our loneliness. We are networked, but we seem to be lacking the real friends we need.

We're a whole lot more disconnected than we seem to be admitting to ourselves.

Unfortunately, feeling disconnected is as dangerous to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and twice as harmful as being obese.  This area of our life needs to move from the "it would be nice to have" category to the "I'll do whatever it takes to get it" category.

Feeling our Inspiration

Back to the weight loss metaphor.  While denial is admittedly there, it's often not that we don't see our weight gain as much as we don't always see what we can do differently.

When that breakthrough moment in the success story is shared, it's not that she suddenly realized she had put on weight.  It's that she finally decided to care enough about it to believe she could change the outcome.  Seeing the need is certainly a crucial step (it's step 1 of AA, after all) but just as significant is seeing how much power we actually have in providing the solution.

With research now suggesting that women are replacing half their friends every seven years, the process of finding, maintaining, fixing, growing, and letting go of friendships is only going to increase. This means most of us will feel the need several times in our lives.  It also means we need to become skillful in fostering new friendships.

My passion is to be a spirited voice on the journey giving us all a loving kick in the butt to admit how much we care and to engage in ways that will produce for us the friends we crave.  It's not going to happen instantly.  But this time next year, you could have a local circle of friends. Truly.

Have you ever felt denial over your need for friends? Why do you think it's hard to admit to ourselves? Do you feel more overwhelmed with the need or with feeling powerless to do anything about it?

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Huge thanks for sticking with me through the blog transfer to wordpress and feedblitz. I invite you to keep journeying with me as we carry on the conversation.  Forward any posting, share on facebook or twitter and definitely leave some comments so I know you're out there!  :)

One Girl Trying to Find Happiness Today...

I woke up this morning in a funk. The kind of blah mood that leaves me staring out windows and rolling my eyes at my to-do list. It's complicated when well-intentioned people ask me "what's wrong?" and I pause for a second, trying to come up with some litany of reasons that would cause the questioner to nod their head in agreement. I really do wish I had a justified reason, something I could point to, an understanding of why I feel unhappy. But I don't. Maybe I'm just tired?

Increasing my Happiness But while I may not have a specific reason to be suffering from some lack of adrenaline today, I do know bits and pieces of what will move me away from this space. Certainly I'm going to go to bed early tonight. I am going to try to get at least one thing checked off my to-do list today (writing this blog will count!) I am going to pause for five minutes and add bullet points to my gratitude journal. I am going to go for a late afternoon walk and get some fresh air and hope that a few endorphins sneak into my body. And, I am going to go to Girls Night tonight.

Every Tuesday night I go. I don't ever ask myself if I want to go. Tonight, I fear, I'd vote against attending if I raised the question. So, I just go. It's scheduled into my life the same way I wake up and go to work, brush my teeth, meditate and pray, watch Private Practice on Thursday nights, eat pizza on Saturday nights, show up in spiritual community every weekend and check my email. We routinize those things that are significant to us, those things that matter. And friendship is one of them for me.

As it is for you. Whether you know it or not.

Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project gives an entire chapter to "Make Time for Friends" saying "One conclusion was blatantly clear from my happiness research: everyone from contemporary scientists to ancient philosophers agrees that having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness."

In this year's book Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, they list our social connections as the second most significant factor (only after career, which determines much of our identity and contribution) to our wellbeing. Not only because who we interact with influences our habits, behaviors and health, but the very process of interacting decreases our stress and elevates our mood. A quote for me today: "Each hour of social time quickly decreases the odds of having a bad day."

And here's a kicker from the Harvard News last week based on research from their psychologists who found that "people were happiest when making love, exercising, or engaging in conversation. They were least happy when resting, working, or using a home computer." hmm.... that explains a lot.

I could go on and on, listing the evidence to support the link between our happiness and our social connections.

On the one hand the research doesn't surprise most of us. On the other hand, I find when I'm in a bad mood that I am more prone to want to cancel plans, withdraw, be alone or simply vegetate in front of the TV. Typically as we feel depressed or low energy, our desire to interact wanes. And yet, counter-intuitively, I know that the best way to raise my joy is to connect. Ahh the conundrum.

Therefore, I have a rule with myself that I don't connect with people based on my moods, but rather based on my values. Anyone who has had any success with regular exercise knows the need. If I only went running when I was looking forward to it then I probably wouldn't make it out there all too often! But for my health, for my happiness, for the things I value, for the life I want-- I will connect.

So tonight I go to girls night. I may not be the chipper one, bringing my typical positivity to the others. But I'll be there! And if science is right, arguably I should come home to my husband a wee-bit happier tonight. Which could inevitably lead to another happiness booster on the Harvard list! May as well try everything! ;)

Loneliness & Your Health

Loneliness is rampant. Loneliness is not about social skills, like-ability or the kind of friend you can be to others. You can be popular and be lonely. You can be beautiful, friendly and successful, and be lonely. You can have a full social calendar and be lonely. You can be married and be lonely. You can be networked and be lonely. Loneliness speaks to your sense of connection. Dr. Jacqueline Olds is a consulting psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, has seen patients for 32 years and is a prolific author on the subject of loneliness. She was quoted yesterday in the The Boston Globe as saying that "Aside from genetics, the two most important factors in longevity are exercise and a network of friends."

Think about how much attention is given in the media and culture to exercise! Every women's health magazine focuses on new exercises to try every month, doctors encourage us to get to the gym and schools set aside an entire period for our physical education & exercise. When was the last time you received the same kind of encouragement to focus on your friendships?

This is a huge issue. And it's largely missing from our conversations regarding our health.

How many Friends do you HAVE? The American Sociological Review published research in June 2006 that showed almost 25% of Americans claim to have no confidante that they share deeply with. Add the 19% of people who claimed to only have 1 such person in their life (most likely a spouse or significant other) and you have almost 50% of Americans who have virtually no close friends outside one relationship (imagine what happens after a divorce, break-up or death?) The other half aren't much better off with the average being two close friends.

How many Friends do you NEED? Compare those numbers of how many close friends most of us have with the numbers that suggest how many friends most of us need.

A study commissioned by The National Lottery to determine the happiness levels between lottery-winners and non-lottery winners showed that it was actually the number of friends that made a bigger impact than the amount of money the respondents had! The report found that "those with five friends or fewer had a 60 per cent chance of being unhappy. People with between five and ten friends have a 50 per cent chance of being happy. But for people with more than ten friends, the likelihood of being happy varies between 55 and 56 per cent. Adding more friends than this doesn't significantly increase the possibility of happiness- so ten is the optimum number. On average, respondents who reported themselves 'extremely satisfied' with their lives had twice the number of friends of those who were 'extremely dissatisfied'.

So on average, most of us have two close friends. And, on average, most of us would be happiest with ten.

Granted, we're all different. We are not a statistic. But do those numbers help reveal a need in our lives?

What are your numbers? How many people do you have that you confide in? How many would you like to have?

Could it be that maybe just as important, if not more, than losing those ten extra pounds might be to add those ten extra friends into your life?