Did you know that can depression, happiness, obesity, smoking, and drinking can all be contagious? Kind of like we catch colds from the people we hang out with, we also “catch” habits from one another.

Say you’re at dinner with friends and you’re ambivalent about ordering a second glass of wine, or a dessert. Are you more likely to opt in when everyone else at the table is indulging? How about when everyone else says “pass?”

Data from the Framingham Heart Study* (a huge population-based study with over 12,000 participants over 32 years) show how certain behaviors are reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with. Check this out:

 

“A person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval. Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40% [irrespective of where the siblings lived].

If one spouse became obese, the likelihood that the other spouse would become obese increased by 37% (95% CI, 7 to 73). These effects were not seen among neighbors in the immediate geographic location.”

 

Similar results with drinking: when a partner abstained, the other spouse was less likely to drink, but if one partner was drinking, the other was more likely to participate. And it’s not just our partners! You see similar numbers (36%) when you look at friends, and even friends of friends.

So if you’re around whole bunch of people who don’t work out, or meditate, or eat well, you’re less likely to be doing those things yourself.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you immediately ditch all of your friends (social isolation is as big a risk factor as smoking for women). But consider: who in your life helps you raise your bar? Do you have a community of peers who are serious about evolving into the next version of themselves? Who in your life supports you in making choices that align with who you want to become? Are there relationships that could benefit from a conscious conversation about how you want to connect?

If you could use some support in cultivating healthier habits, my upcoming program Eleven Weeks to Level Up Your Life could be just what you need. It’s like a support group (or self-care boot camp?) for people who want to take self-care off of the back burner and cultivate the habits.

If you’re ready to get serious about getting enough sleep, meditating regularly, dropping excess weight, feeling more in the flow of daily life, this is the program that could hep you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. There’s room for just 7 more participants. If you’re curious about being one of them, schedule a discovery call with me to see about starting your transformation. Do it soon, as there are only a few spots left.

Here’s to who you’re becoming!

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