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Social relationships and helpfulness

Why is our human environment so important? And how can social relationships and helpful behaviour positively influence your life? Find out more about that here.

Social relationships

Many studies show how important close, supportive social relationships are for a happy life. People who have good social relationships are happier, less likely to get sick, live longer and stay cognitively fit longer compared to people who have few such relationships.

  • Loneliness is one of the most important risk factors for almost all mental illnesses.
  • Close social relationships are important for a happy life.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest long-term study of adult development ever conducted. Over a period of 80 years, researchers investigated, among other things, the factors that lead to a fulfilled life. Their results show that close social relationships are by far the most important factor for a happy life.

The following TED Talk by Prof. Robert Waldinger gives an insight into the results of this extensive study. The video is in English, German subtitles can be activated.


Helping other people is doubly rewarding. According to scientific findings, not only does it make those who receive help happier, but also those offering the help. Willingness to help and volunteer work are – probably unsurprisingly – among the most important ingredients of a happy life.

So, if you are unhappy or struggling with a lack of self-worth, taking up voluntary work could help. You can find offers on the Swiss placement platform for voluntary work (Benevol Jobs) or on cantonal webpages:

  • Counselling services (overview) 

  • Conflicts and bullying

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