What are your goals?
Become an entrepreneur. Climb the corporate ladder. Make more money.
It maybe to travel the world as a digital nomad.
But the reason we write these goals down and strive to achieve them comes down to this big question.
“How can I be happier?”
In our crazy busy digital world and modern society we are often told that more is better.
The media bombards us with messages telling us that if we have or buy “this” we will be happy.
We are told that life will be a nirvana if we are, slimmer, fitter and more attractive.
Modern society is often saying. More money, more stuff and….just more.
The more you have the more you have to worry about and the more anxious you become.
You become afraid of losing it. That’s why we insure things.
We worry about having our stuff stolen or damaged.
But often less is more.
Keeping things simple and reducing clutter in our minds and in our physical world is key to “more” well being.
And there is also a simple solution to being happier.
In a TED Talk Robert Waldinger revealed the secret to true happiness and also being healthier.
And it is not about more toys and more stuff. And it is not about the external material factors that we often delude ourselves are the solution.
In 1938 at Harvard College they tracked the lives of 724 men. And every year they asked about their work, home lives and their health.
It is the world’s longest study in happiness.
And it isn’t about wealth, fame or working harder and harder.
So what are the 3 big lessons from this research:
1: Social connections are good for us. Loneliness kills. People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected.
3: Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies,they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80’s is protective, and they feel they can count on the other person in times of need.
So the big question that arises is this. How can I improve the quality of my relationships?
Some of us learn this from our parents. Others learn from doing courses. Many learn from life by observing what works and what doesn’t.
I learned from 2 sources.
The first one was attending a 6 month communication course that taught me to be self aware and only then to be aware of others.
This taught me the art of active listening and focused attention. Listening in this way is to make it all abut them. Not you.
The other was spending 10 years with my partner that showed me the art and discipline of being generous and nurture friendships. She was my mentor on giving. I am thankful for that gift.
So here are 10 ways to grow quality relationships. Many are simple. And the list is almost endless.
In essence the practice of nurturing relationships comes down to self awareness and good habits. It is simple but sometimes hard to do. Some of us aren’t well wired to carry it out. But the skill of nurturing relationships can be learned.
These skills and tactics can be applied to not just friends and family but work and business connections.
And it doesn’t need to be complicated.
You just need to focus on what works for you.
Nurturing friends, holding them close. Telling them you love them and care through action and not just words. That is the secret to happiness.
The big bonus is this.
When tough times turn up (and they will), the skill of nurturing quality relationships will sustain you and carry you through to the other side.
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