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Quality conversations can boost happiness and well-being, study shows


Photo: urbazon/iStockphoto

Talking with a friend at least once a day – to catch up, lend a listening ear or just joke around – can improve your overall well-being, researchers say.

Their conclusion came after they asked more than 900 people from five different universities to use, for a day, one of seven communication methods: catching up, listening, meaningful talks, joking around, showing care, valuing others and their opinions, and offering sincere compliments. Later in the day, the participants reported on their well-being, connection, stress, anxiety, loneliness and the quality of their day.

The method of connection didn’t matter as much as the act of connecting with a friend, said lead study author Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas. “One of the take-home messages of this study is that there are many paths toward the same goal.”

Additionally, Hall and his fellow researchers found greater positive effects on happiness and stress when the participants had more than one “quality conversation” a day.

“This means the more that you listened to your friends, the more that you showed care, the more that you took time to value others’ opinions, the better you felt at the end of the day,” Hall said.

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