We all know that there is a direct relationship between happiness and relationships. When our relationships are going great, we are on top of the world. When they are not going well, we are down in the dumps.
Did you know that positive psychology has been studying this connection for over 50 years? In this post I’m going to explore what science is telling us. You may be surprised at some of their findings.
A study based on input from 17 countries confirms that spousal relationships increase levels of happiness. This is probably no surprise to most of us.
Although the importance of spousal relationship has been supported by science, it is not the only relationship that contributes to happiness.
Research tells us that our ability to create and maintain friendships is important to our happiness.
Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, “believes that the No. 1 contributor to happiness is the quality of a person’s social circle and that it is human nature to pursue one.”
Christine Carter (University of California at Berkley) tells us that “the quantity and quality of a person’s social connections is so closely related to well-being and personal happiness, the two can be practically equated. People with many friendships are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and problems with eating and sleeping.”
We all know that when we smile at someone they often smile back. And when one person starts laughing, pretty soon everyone is laughing.
But did you know that happiness affects more than the people you see and talk to. It can affect people by up to 3 degrees of separation. This means that your happiness can affect people you don’t even know.
Our casual relationships are important too. “Interestingly, even our interactions with people we do not know that well can give us sense we are a part of a larger community.” (Psychology Today)
Jared Warren, professor of positive psychology at BYU, says, “Happy people enjoy being in loving relationships. They seek them out and enjoy the idea of being interconnected with friends and the community. They are also full of compassion, patience, and altruism toward others. They find that helping others can produce a helper’s high, which can be a source of happiness and confidence.”
Here are three things you can do to improve your relationships and create more happiness for yourself and others.
Put your own happiness first. Your happiness is contagious. Everyone benefits.
Nurture your relationships. The law of attraction and the science of happiness tell us that when you create happy relationships you will attract more happy relationships.
Smile and have a kind word for everyone you come into contact with every day. This simple act can improve your happiness and help create a happier world.
Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us “The causal relationship between social relationships and happiness is clearly bidirectional. This means that romantic partners and friends make people happy, but it also means that happy people are more likely to acquire lovers and friends.”
If you want to live a happy life, relationships are key. By focusing on the bidirectional nature of relationships you can create more happiness for yourself and everyone around you. This is the key to making the world a happier place for all of us.
How to create more happiness
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