The key to your personal happiness and the one thing that will prevent it.
One of the greatest studies ever conducted on humans is the Grant Study, also known as the Harvard Human Happiness Study. It has tracked the same people for 85 years. And it has developed a clear conclusion that the greatest influence on human happiness and fulfillment is strong personal relationships. Having close, meaningful relationships with your friends and family will make you happier and healthier, and help you live longer. Which helps explain why Keith Richards and Willie Nelson are still kicking.
But what if the relationship has sailed?
Yet strong and deep personal relationships take work to maintain. You undoubtedly have good friends or family members that you were once close to, but now it has been a long time since you talked. Maybe there was an issue. Or a move. Or you no longer work together. Because many of our strongest friendships develop at work. Which is where I met my wife. And a bunch of other great friends that I didn’t marry.
Yet studies clearly show that resuming and restrengthening your relationships will have a positive impact on your health and happiness.
Interestingly, studies also show that the number one reason people don’t reach out to friends, family and former coworkers after long silences is that they worry that reaching out will be awkward.
Which means that worrying about the awkwardness of a conversation with a once close friend or family member is one of the greatest barriers to human happiness.
Really? Awkwardness? (Said the way Allen Iverson said ‘ Practice? ‘) That’s crazy. And we’re not even talking about real awkwardness. Just the perceived potential of awkwardness.
In reality, most people are thrilled to hear from a friend or family member they haven’t heard from in a long time. Which means that by reaching out you are doing yourself and the person you are reaching out to a solid. Because reconnected and reestablishing meaningful relationships is not only highly enjoyable, it is extremely good for your health and happiness. Which makes you feel like Pharrell Williams in a room without a roof.
Strong personal relationships are the key to happiness, health, and longevity. Invest time and energy in your current relationships. Reconnect with friends and family members you have not been in touch with lately. Get over the awkwardness. It will be worth it.
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