Did you know that if someone you know is happy, you are 15% more likely to be happy yourself? It doesn't stop there either. If someone you know, knows someone who is happy, you are 10% more likely to be happy and if a friend of a friend is happy, you are 6% more likely to be. The reverse is also true: if you’re happy, your friends and their friends are more likely to catch the happiness!
This ripple effect leaves happiness in its wake, and is one reason that relating to others is arguably the the thing that contributes most to our overall sense of happiness and wellbeing.
The same is true not just of close friends and family, but of your wider social circle and even of strangers. A small act of kindness such as a smile or a kind word will start that ripple expanding outward.
Us humans have evolved to be highly social creatures. According to Action for Happiness, those with strong and broad relationships tend to be happier, healthier and live longer. Relating to others gives us a sense of worth and belonging. Close relationships provide love and support. Some scientists even believe it’s in our genes,
Relating to others is something that can so easily be put on the back burner when life gets in the way, or friendships can be taken for granted. It’s not always something that comes naturally. Some people find it easy, others have to work hard at building up relationships with others. Being a good friend is a skill.
So how do you build up good relationships?
The answer is different for everyone. Here’s an interesting exercise to help you to discover your answer. Think about a time recently, when you have interacted with another person and it’s made you happy? What did you do, or did the other person do, during this interaction that made you happy?
One thing that came up at the Happy Cafe Ely morning last week was taking time to listen. It’s so easy in this busy day and age to become distracted and let the mind wander, but listening to someone, really listening, can make all the difference.
Relating to others doesn’t need to be about your existing circle of friends and family, it can also be about smiling or striking up a conversation with a stranger. We realised that at the Happy Cafe mornings we have been seizing the opportunity to do just that, so why not join us for the next Happy Cafe morning on Wednesday September 20th. We’ll be at Julia’s tearoom from 10.30 am until noon. We hope to see you there!