We all want to be happy. As a positive psychology practitioner people often think I am happy all the time. This is not true; however, I have built a strong foundation, solid relationships and I have tools which help me to be resilient when life throws me curve balls. I just listened to Robert Waldinger discuss his book the Good Life and how we can build our social fitness. Social fitness is a lot like physical fitness – you don’t just do it once and you are done, it takes practice and continued effort. Relationships take time, effort, thought and consideration. We need to keep energizing our relationships to keep them going. This can happen in small ways:
Reach out and make a connection! Try it now…..take out your phone and text someone who you miss and are thinking about. Just do that, tell them you are thinking about them. There, you are done. See if they respond. If they don’t that’s ok too. There will be those that do.
Set up and 8 minute call. Everyone is so busy; however, everyone can find 8 minutes to come together at some point.
Set up a reminder on your to do list – check in with an old friend!
Connect it with something else you already do just as BJ Fogg suggests. For instance on your drive home call your mother. 🙂
Being Generous in your relationships goes a long way.
1.This generosity can show up as time, attention, or a skill you can share with another.
2.Even giving someone your full attention is being generous – make eye contact, listen more attentively.
3.Catching someone at being “good” rather than seeing what they are doing wrong, and appreciating the good. As I’ve passed along many times what you appreciate appreciates!
4.Be of service to other people. Volunteer, teach english as a second language, read to little ones at the library.
5. Make eye contact and say hello to your neighbors, mailman, check out person. If they are wearing a name tag notice and use their name.
I have worked with clients who have told me they are lonely. We have discussed ways that they can combat that and try to forge new friendships and relationships. Whether it is after a loss, or retirement sometimes we find ourselves alone. Reach out, join something that meets more than once. Do something you love and you will find like minded people. What is your passion? Yoga? Gardening?Pickelball? Volunteering for something of interest? This is where the casual conversations begin and you meet new people.
What are your building blocks of a good life?
For me it’s engaging in activities I find meaningful and love to do.
Caring about my loved ones and having them care about me.
Maintaining my health.
Being compassionate to each other. Turning towards the voices that uplift me and create connection and compassion rather than listening to the ones that divide us.