I’m sure most of us have experienced this scenario: you wake up feeling strange and have no idea why. So, to get rid of that feeling, you phone your buddies and invite them to hang out. I’m sure spending time with the people you care about made you feel a lot better. But why is this the case? How do our close friends and family members have the ability to turn a bad day into a good one?
I didn’t have many close pals when I first started university. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet pals at the dorm because I stayed off-campus with my grandparents who resided close by. I joined an intramural soccer league in order to meet more people, despite the fact that I had never played soccer before. Through this pastime, I was able to meet new individuals, and some of these people later became excellent friends. My undergraduate experience would have been considerably more lonely if I hadn’t made these contacts.
Since then, I’ve tried to remain in touch with friends and family as often as possible. Staying connected to our friends and family is extremely vital to our happiness, according to one of the longest studies in history. This research, known as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, began in 1938 and continues to this day. It began with 724 participants, and there are now only 60 guys left, all in their 90s, who are still participating. These individuals come from many walks of life—some are from Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods, while others are Harvard graduates. Researchers gathered information about the men’s lives from them and their families throughout the years.
They discovered that happiness and close relationships go hand in hand. Men who were connected to their family and friends reported having a higher quality of life and being happy. Connections with close intimate friends were determined to be mood boosters by the researchers. They also discovered that solitude had a destabilising effect on mood. Men who were involved in positive, healthy relationships were happier, while those who were alone or involved in unhealthy relationships were unhappy.
So, what can we learn from this research? It encourages us to reflect on our own lives and relationships, asking ourselves, “Am I making time for close, positive relationships with my family and friends?” If we aren’t, we may find it challenging to be happy in our life.
How do we keep more connected if this is the case? How do we connect with good individuals, to take it a step further? If you’re an extrovert, you might assume it’s simple to stay connected. However, many people, including myself, are introverts, and as a result, I must be more deliberate in reaching out to my friends and family. I enjoy spending time alone, but I am aware that if I do it for an extended period of time, I will become isolated.
People are the same way. We may be surrounded by wonderful people, yet if we don’t make an effort to connect with them, we may find ourselves lacking in happiness and fulfilment. It’s crucial to reach out and maintain relationships since it’s excellent for the soul. However, this requires time and effort—we must phone our friends, schedule time to meet up with them, and possibly even go on vacation with them.
Why relationships are important in our life?
One thing to keep in mind as you begin this process: these buddies must be folks who make you happy. When we eat fried food, our bodies react differently than when we eat fruits and vegetables. We feel better after eating the latter. Our buddies are in the same boat. They have to be folks who make us happy. I’ve learned to value my friends and family who have had a positive influence on me through the years.
As we begin to reach out to these individuals, it may be beneficial to consider how you come across to the people in your life. We want to not only meet nice people who will improve our lives, but we also want to have a positive impact on those we care about. People may not want to spend time with us if we are continuously negative.
It’s time to cast a wider net after we’ve reached out to the folks presently in our life. The greatest approach to do this is to engage in activities that we enjoy and make people with similar interests. For example, I met one of my greatest friends many years ago at a hiking club event. We were trekking together, and he and I quickly became friends. We began spending time together outside of the group, which reinforced our bond even further. Since then, he has moved away, but we still make time to see one other several times a year and communicate frequently.
My passion for meditation has also helped me establish relationships. I used to host meditation groups in my home, but I’ve recently moved them to my Newport office. Through these activities, I’ve made some wonderful people who share my interest in meditation.
To summarise, maintaining contact with our friends is critical to our pleasure. If we don’t already have friends, we can join clubs or participate in activities that interest us and look for people who share our interests. We might have to take a chance and invite someone we connect with to lunch or coffee outside of the group in these situations. Putting oneself out there can be intimidating, but most people enjoy meeting new people! We might also tell ourselves that the risk is worth it because wonderful friends improve our overall happiness.
I want to add something that the study didn’t say—animals have a significant role in our happiness! Some of the best pals we’ll ever have are our pets. It’s vital to note that they shouldn’t be our sole friends or interactions, but they can certainly add to our happiness. They, like individuals, bring solace and nourishment to our souls.
Pets may also assist us in making human bonds. Assume you’re out walking your dog or taking them to a dog park. You might run into someone else walking their dog, and it’s simple to begin a discussion with someone who shares your hobbies. Do you recall The Lady and the Tramp? It’s about two owners who each have a dog, and the dogs, as well as the owners, fall in love with one another!
Life becomes busy, and we’re frequently confronted with difficulties and problems that can cause us to neglect our relationships. And, even if we preserve our relationships with friends and family, we must create room for new individuals because of impermanence. It may take some time to fully build this muscle of realising the value of friendships and relationships, but once we do, making time for the connections that fill our souls will become second nature.