Happiness Is... Relationships

Recently Time Magazine released an entire special edition called "The Science of Happiness" which is an issue dedicated to containing new discoveries that relate to how we can live more joyful lives. The aspect that we are going to focus on today is… Relationships.

Think less "me" time, more "we" time
"Truly sunny people have one thing in common, and it's got nothing to do with their paychecks, IQs, or gender… they have plenty of good social relationships." (Time Magazine, pg 39) In a study co-authored by Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, people kept a running tab with whom they had either a strong or weak tie. Regardless of the type of person they connected with, they consistently felt more chipper on the days when they mingled.

Make time to be playful today
Playfulness energizes you and activates your brain. Vagdevi Meunier, a relationship therapist certified by the Gottman Institute in Seattle and founder of the Center for Relationships in Austin, Texas likes to tell couples that she works with, "I can help you fight better, but that's not nearly as effective as if I can help you play better."

Show the love
Give immediate positive feedback to those around you. Expressing gratitude to others can help you physically according to some research with "lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, better sleep and fewer bouts of depression," (Times Magazine pg 90) Also, it's hard to resent someone when you are focused on praising them!

Take part in some "social snacking"
A social snack is a little way of connecting with other human beings, even strangers. There is some type of comfort when you realize we are all in this crazy world together. "When you talk with strangers, there's also the pleasant surprise of finding stuff in common and sometimes the exhilaration of their opening up your world when they tell you something interesting you didn't know." (Time Magazine pg 40)

Pay it forward
It's scientifically proven that committing to a few do-good gestures a day can increase your general level of contentment. Try this week to do three to five acts of kindness for others and you may find that it gives you as the giver significantly more happiness.

These are just a few tips on how to activate happiness in your relationships. If you want to discuss the roadblocks you may be facing in engaging with these steps, feel free to reach out to me for an appointment. You can either email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323.