Unlocking Happiness: Expert Insights and Business Strategies for Social Connection

Featured & Cover Unlocking Happiness Expert Insights and Business Strategies for Social Connection

In 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a statement emphasizing the concerning levels of loneliness and isolation in the United States. Post-pandemic, a pressing question on many minds is “How can I feel happier?”

According to Laurie Santos, instructor of “The Science of Well-Being,” the most sought-after course at Yale, and host of “The Happiness Lab” podcast, the key to happiness is straightforward and could benefit businesses as well. Santos asserts that the top method to enhance happiness is through social connection. She notes, “Every available study of happy people suggests that happy people are more social… they invest time in their friends and family members.”

To nurture these social bonds, Santos proposes three strategies:

  1. Dedicate intentional time to nurture existing relationships.
  2. Embrace connecting with strangers, as research indicates it can be more rewarding than anticipated.
  3. Engage in conversations that delve deeper into understanding others’ values, fostering genuine connections.

Businesses are also recognizing the significance of social connection in their operations. Maryellis Bunn, co-founder and CEO of the Museum of Ice Cream, shares that the idea for the immersive experience emerged from her desire to find NYC activities beyond alcohol or dining out. Reflecting on her passion for ice cream, Bunn envisioned leveraging it to unite people and spark creativity.

Bunn’s vision led to the creation of the Museum of Ice Cream, which now spans four locations after nearly a decade. Recognizing the potential to enhance visitors’ sense of connection, Bunn sought guidance from Santos on fostering social interactions within the museum, especially for solo visitors seeking to meet others.

To infuse more opportunities for connection into businesses like the Museum of Ice Cream, Bunn suggests leveraging communal experiences, particularly around food. She highlights food’s role as a catalyst for bonding, akin to the shared meals in schools, and proposes creating immersive dining experiences to facilitate meaningful connections among patrons.

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