Way #5: “Social relationships are key to joy. Don’t isolate yourself. Human contact is a powerful healer and joy creator. The World Health Organization states that, “social connections are more healing than most advanced pharmaceuticals. The key to happiness is to slow down and connect.” It releases a flood of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which creates joy. Studies show that people who are socially isolated have an excess of stress hormones, predisposing them to depression and anxiety. Those with strong social ties have lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and higher levels of oxytocin, which is associated with good physical and emotional health and the ability to cope well with stress. Studies show that having good social relationships is one of the biggest predictors of joy. Cultivate and nurture relationships.”- Hana Matt
As we mature, it is wise to realize that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to relationships. There are different types of relationships that we will find ourselves in and out of during the span of our lives. Each relationship carries its own title and significance in the catalog of our life. Relationships also bring valuable and necessary life lessons, on both the positive and negative spectrum of life events. We learn how to communicate, listen, compromise, share, trust, support, love, and laugh through our positive relationships. We learn little by little what we don’t want and don’t deserve (distrust, infidelity, insensitivity, lack of communication, egoism, shallowness, etc.) through the negative relationships.
What is truly important though is that we continue to HAVE relationships. As humans, we are innately social beings. Some people are more social and extroverted, while others are less social and more introverted, but regardless everyone needs someone (a partner, a friend, a sibling, a pet). Our happiness depends on our ability to connect with people, our environment, and ourselves.
As Hana Matt stated above, it is proven that social interactions increase the release of our joy hormones. Part of our life experience is sharing our experiences with others. It is elemental that we want to share the good things in our lives with those whom we have a connection. It is also intrinsic that we want and need someone to be there with us during times of despair, depression, angst, and anger. Life is too heavy to run through it alone. Life is too wonderful to do it on your own.
The point is, take the time to nurture the relationships that you have been blessed with and cultivate new ones as you see fit. Surrounding yourself with positive, fun, supportive, loving, inspiring, and caring people is a win-win situation for everyone. A relationship is two-sided and each participating party must contribute 100%, 100% of the time. It is not about how many relationships you have. It’s about making the ones that are truly worth it count. We need each other; our joy depends upon it.
Be kind. Keep your heart open. Never stop being you. The people who should be in your life are the ones that accept and love you for who you are. Find joy in each other and in yourself.
Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week.