Is your social network sabotaging your health?

by

With whom do you hang out?

Choose your friends carefully, your health depends on it.
By: Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe, Daily Dose

MSI Editor’s Note: Eckhart Tolle mentions in the Power of Now that negative emotions can spread more easily than a cold. Holding one’s center, being the fire of peace, in an insane world, is part of the function of those who are truly interested in making the world a better place.   Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” What I get from that declaration is that most people one comes across will be still be acting out their lives relatively unconsciously. So don’t be surprised when you encounter unconscious behavior as you go about your day, and seek to be with people that support your being. R. Richards
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Let’s say you want to adopt some healthier habits: start biking to work, give up the 300-calorie Starbucks Frappuccinos, quit smoking once and for all. All it takes is a little willpower, right?

Or perhaps you need to take a good hard look at your social network, the friends, family, and co-workers that influence how you eat, spend leisure time, and prioritize what’s important in life. Both good habits and bad can spread like the flu through that circle of your closest connections, and research suggests this network could be the single biggest predictor of your overall state of health.

The Social Network

“It definitely seems like there’s a contagion effect,” said Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University nutrition professor and author of The Social Network Diet. “Once you move in certain circles, it’s tough to change habits unless you make an effort to join a new network.”

Friends who make friends with others trying to lose weight have a higher likelihood of losing weight themselves — something Weight Watchers discovered back in the 1960’s.

Nelson, herself, relied on social networks to get her back to marathon running after having three babies in quick succession. “I hadn’t been active for almost 10 years until Tufts started a marathon team,” she said. She joined in 2003 and has been running with the group weekly. “It got me back on track and kept me there.”

After a landmark 2007 Harvard study found that Read the rest of this story…

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