Recently we celebrated a worldwide event. No, it wasn’t the eclipse, although you might be forgiven for thinking that. Friday 20 March 2015 saw the global celebration to mark the United Nations’ ‘International Day of Happiness’. Even though the day passed unnoticed for most of us, this year’s focus was all about our connection with others. One thing has proved fundamental throughout years of happiness research – the importance of our connection with other people.
We now live in a society in which we are more connected than ever before – faster internet connection on mobile phones and social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. So, is it surprising to hear that in spite of all of this, and the fact we are surrounded by people, we still feel genuinely unconnected to most of them. A study from 2013 showed that rather than making us feel connected, social media contributes to feelings of loneliness, making us unhappy and reducing overall life-satisfaction.
When asked what makes us happy, most people name the same things – a secure job, good health, friends and a home. To the first point, several academic studies have shown that people in work, have a more positive view of life. It has been argued that work is the most effective way to improve the wellbeing of individuals, their families and their communities. There is also growing awareness that being out of long-term employment is harmful to physical and mental health.
This is why being off work on long-term sickness absence can have a detrimental impact on different aspects your life. It can also feel quite daunting once you decide to return to work. This is where a service such as Fit for Work can help. It will not only support you to get better and return to work in a way that is right for you, but will also give you the confidence to tackle the issues that are preventing you from returning to work.