#HappyFacts: Stairs Over Starbucks

Each week, Live Happy Radio presents #HappyFacts designed to enlighten, educate and entertain you. 

Here’s a look at what we’re talking about this week:

Friends over family?

We all know that relationships are important, but it turns out that friends may be even more important than family. According to a study from Michigan State University, strong, supportive friendships can be a greater indicator of well-being than family, especially as we age.
 
But this isn’t about collecting Facebook friends; the study showed that the depth and quality of those friendships were a key differentiator. Having supportive friends was directly linked to greater personal happiness. And, friendships that stand the test of time–like that grade school bestie you still talk to regularly–are some of the most beneficial. So we’re not saying you should skip the family reunion, but do make time to appreciate and nurture your friendships. They’re better for you than you knew!
 

Deep thoughts for happy people.

The happier you are, the greater the odds that your conversations go way beyond small talk. Researchers from the University of Arizona studied the conversation patterns of people and found that happy people shared two distinct characteristics: They spent less time alone and spent more time talking.
 
But it wasn’t just mindless chatter; happy people had twice the number of “substantive” conversations and just one-third the amount of small talk as their less happy counterparts.
 
What the researchers don’t know, however, is whether happier people are “social attractors” who are more prone to meaningful conversation, or if having deeper interactions makes people happier. What do you think? Talk amongst yourselves and let us know… 
 

Craving coffee? Take the stairs!

Whether it’s for our morning jump-start or to stave off the afternoon slump, most of us cure it by reaching for caffeine. Now researchers say we can get the same effect from walking up and down a few flights of stairs.
 
University of Georgia researchers found that walking stairs for 10 minutes gave study participants a better boost than a cup of coffee–and they also returned to work more motivated than those who consumed caffeine. Plus, they had more energy later on, as they avoided the dreaded “caffeine crash.”
 
And, since we’ve just learned how beneficial friends are to our well-being, it seems reasonable that you could grab an office buddy, hike the stairs together and get the added benefit of social connection. (Bonus points if you have a deep conversation while doing it!)