Usually I write about the keys to bringing our best selves to our lives. One of the tools I don’t talk about as much but want to address now is relationships and how they help us to have a happier life. I recently watched this TED talk on the impact our relationships have on our lives. Research shows the highest indicator of our happiness throughout our lives is not whether we achieve fame, wealth, or renown. It is not if we are productive or compete well. In fact the highest indicator of wellness and longevity is the health of our relationships.
As someone who loves her alone time I want to focus on this point. Because taking care of myself with exercise, creativity, meditation, etc. will enhance my wellbeing but it will not determine the duration or the quality of my life. The research shows that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
Wow, that’s a lot. As someone who curates her relationships, I want this to sink in not just for you but for me too. Having relationships with people we know we can depend upon actually enables us to live longer, healthier lives. And not only that – it decreases the pain we will feel when we do face health issues. Less physical pain – due simply to having dependable family, friends, and relationships with others! And how do we do that? How do we make friends? What if we live in a new place? Or are not familiar with our community?
Here’s what I know. We recently relocated to a new home – which I talk more about here. We moved to a location much closer to family. We now live in this town with my family super close and it has been one of the best choices we have made. We wave when we drive by each other. We have guaranteed help whenever we make too much spaghetti or have more desserts than any one family can consume. And more than that, family makes this new place feel like home.
I have found getting involved in the things that interest you help you find your people. For example, I attended a free writing course at the library and ran into an acquaintance. We’re now attending a writing conference together. I even gave a recommendation for her in a job interview. I don’t know that if I needed a kidney she’d be my girl but I sure know that when there’s a writing program, she’s going to make sure I know about it! These small things make a difference in helping all of us feel supported.
If you want to get involved in your local community I would recommend joining your community and neighborhood facebook groups, attend the block party, even if you only stop by for a short visit. It really is lovely to see a friend you met briefly on the drive home. Even if you don’t like the pressure of a large event you can always attend your community’s annual parades, fireworks displays, home and garden tours, or street market. These are fun, low pressure, ways you can see and meet the people who live around you out and about.
The larger community can sometimes feel daunting. And the thing is if this isn’t for you it’s ok to stick with a small group. We don’t need a ton of friends we just need a few real ones.
Building relationships really makes a difference in our quality of life. I hope these ideas enrich your life too – and helps all of us all to live a little longer, a little happier, and with less pain and suffering. Sending you lots of love and my deepest thanks because this little community is one of the places where I feel deep joy to be surrounded by loving and likeminded people. So thank you – M.
I am always after ideas and strategies for how to live a happier life. Drop a note in the comments if you have some tips and ideas for creating community and building deeper relationships.