By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.
Recently, I’ve been reading “Yes Man.” It is actually just as good as the movie, “Yes Man,” starring Jim Carrey. It had me laughing from the first few sentences and I was entertained throughout. One difference between the book and the movie though was that the movie was based in the US and the book in the UK. Another was the amount of time the book characters spent in pubs. The main character in the book, Danny, spent a lot of time socializing with friends, girlfriends and people he barely knew in watering holes throughout London.
As I read, I kept thinking about a short article Daniel Goleman, author of “Social Intelligence,” wrote in 2008 comparing “the mental and physical health” between Americans (U.S.) and the British. Goleman asserted that U.S. citizens have higher rates of diseases such as diabetes and cancer, work longer hours and our wealthier citizens’ health is no better than the least wealthy of British citizens.
He cites research that opines one contributing factor is that people in the UK place greater value on spending time in pubs rather than those in the US. In other words, socializing with their “neighbors.” This also leads to a higher number of friends and acquaintances which plays a role in overall mental health.
We all know that social networks mean that others are there if we need them and vice versa. But besides that and fun, how often do people focus on socializing as a tool for overall mental and physical health?