Word-Of-the-Week #834: Connection

July 30, 2020 by  

Connection – the act of creating a relationship. 

When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with someone in person? How much time each month do you spend helping others? Do you realize how important relationships are in adding to your overall happiness?

Here are more excerpts on The Habits Of Supremely Happy People from The Huffington Post.

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us. And he says happy people have habits you can introduce into your everyday life that may add to the bigger picture of bliss.

  • They devote some of their time to giving.

Even though there are only 24 hours in a day, positive people fill some of that time doing good for others, which in return, does some good for the do-gooders themselves. A long-term research project called Americans’ Changing Lives found a bevy of benefits associated with altruism: “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” reported Peggy Thoits, the leader of one of the studies.

Givers also experience what researchers call “the helper’s high,” a euphoric state experienced by those engaged in charitable acts. “This is probably a literal “high,” similar to a drug-induced high,” writes Christine L. Carter, Ph.D. “The act of making a financial donation triggers the reward center in our brains that is responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria.”

  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.

Nothing wrong with shootin’ the you-know-what every now and then, but sitting down to talk about what makes you tick is a prime practice for feeling good about life. A study published in Psychological Science found that those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction.

“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” is one of the top five regrets of the dying — a sentiment that hints at the fact that people wish they’d spent less time talking about the weather and more time delving into what it is that makes their heart swell.

  • They make a point to listen.

“When you listen you open up your ability to take in more knowledge versus blocking the world with your words or your distracting thoughts,” writes David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism. “You are also demonstrating confidence and respect for others. Knowledge and confidence is proof that you are secure and positive with yourself thus radiating positive energy.” Good listening is a skill that strengthens relationships and leads to more satisfying experiences. A good listener may walk away from a conversation feeling as if their presence served a purpose, an experience that is closely connected with increased well-being.

  • They uphold in-person connections.

It’s quick and convenient to text, FaceTime and tweet at your buddies. But spending the money on a flight to see your favorite person across the country has weight when it comes to your well-being. “There’s a deep need to have a sense of belonging that comes with having personal interactions with friends,” says John Cacioppo, Ph.D., the director of the Center of Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Social media, while it keeps us in touch, doesn’t allow us to physically touch, which harvests the warm-and-fuzzies and even decreases feelings of anxiety.

This week’s focus is on connection. How open and receptive are you to listening to those around you? When was the last time you connected with a special friend? How often do you express your deepest true feelings?

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