Does it matter who we spend our time with? I think it does. When we hang with happy people, we feel happier. I was just listening to an audio book on brain research and love and within this framework there was a discussion about “mirror neurons” in our brain. The mirror neurons in our brain help us to be attuned to those around us. So we search for how another feels and our brain internally mirrors that emotion. It is like we experienced it ourselves. So when we spend large amounts of time with those who are upset or unhappy we may find ourselves feeling this way also. If your friends are negative there will be a strong feel to want to be negative also. Or if your significant other is depressed a lot it may feel as if your mood tends to gravitate to this emotion. I am not saying that we all do not have times of upset and don’t need to process this with another. We do. I am talking about those who are never happy or always upset and expressing it to all around them.
We spent some time with some good friends for a get together at our house this last weekend. I always feel so good when I see these friends. They are happy, positive and upbeat. And I find myself feeling positive and upbeat when we end our time with them. This is not to say we are not REAL with each other about struggles and disappointments. We are. It feels good to know there is no judgement, but there is always a shift and general positive feel that all is well.
So let’s think about how we can put more happy people in our life and how we can deal with those who are not so happy.
- We do have a choice who we hang with, for the most part. Yes we have to work with a certain group of people or at least unless we choose to work with another group of folks. This of course is something to consider if it an extreme situation. We can choose how much time to spend with different friends. We can choose to limit our time or not spend time with a negative friend. You do have control of how you spend your time and sometimes it may mean putting boundaries in place as to time spent with people you know that are very negative and do nothing to bring any happiness to your life.
- Lead the way, in choosing to focus on your own happy, positive feelings. You will find that it grows those kinds of feelings in those around you. In addition, you will find that folks will want to hang with you because it feels so very good to be around you. Happy attracts happy! Again, sharing upset feelings and being real is part of being human. The point is trying to balance and have your scales weight toward the happy, upbeat “half full” view of life. You can set the tone with those around you.
- On purpose get together with those folks who are more positive by nature. Your brain will collect their happy, positive thoughts as though you had them yourself.
- If you are with a person who is not happy, reflect and acknowledge their feelings so they can feel heard and then gently move toward what might make them feel better.
- Consider your couple relationships and how they affect your own relationship. If you have couple friends who are unhappy and are in conflict with one another it can breed a feeling of not being satisfied. Like attracts like. Or I suppose in this case unlike attracts unlike. When you are with couple friends who are loving and kind to each other, it serves as a reminder that this is what you are striving for also.
- When dealing with family members who are “in a mood’, try to be empathetic but avoid being drawn into the depths of their upset. Just as with friends, acknowledge their upset, listen to what they need to say to process the upset and then invite them to a better place where they can let some good in. Let them know you love them and are there for them, this in itself can turn the tide toward a brighter outlook.
- If you are not feeling very happy, you might consider seeking out one of your friends or family members who radiate a feeling of caring and has a positive attitude. Yes be real and process those feelings, but be with someone who can help remind you of the good stuff going on in your life.