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.
So . . . go hang with as many happy people as you can. You will be so glad you did!
Can your happiness and personal growth lead to a better relationship? I say YES! It may feel these two things do not always mesh. But they can and do. So how can our happiness create a better relationship? Here are 5 ways your happiness and feelings of well-being can lead to a better relationship.
- Being happy and filled with our own purpose sets a foundation for creating a happy relationship. If we are not happy and feel we are not in touch with own purpose for this life it is hard to create a deep intimate relationship with another. To be able to create a harmonious and synergistic relationship with another we first must feel good about ourself and what we are here to do. Then we can create a strong relationship.
- Happiness is contagious. Your happiness and feeling of well-being will spread to those around you.
- Coming from a place of happiness will allow for more good feelings about your loved ones. When you are happy you feel more empathy and love for those around you. Many of our wisdom leaders talk about how we must first love our selves to really love others.
- You will have more to share with your partner. More stimulating conversations. Different interactions. This can create a space for growth and a new kind of connection.
- Being happy and filled with your own purpose allows you to take some pressure off the relationship. Yes your relationship should make you feel happy and joyful, but it should not be your only source of feeling good.
Consider taking time as a couple to work on personal growth and development. It may mean reading an inspirational book together and having conversation as to how this impacted you and your views of personal growth or happiness. Or it could be attending church together or developing a spiritual practice together. Or it could mean finding things that brings happiness and joy to you both. Or it could be that you find something you both feel passionate about that you can share.
I had a personal experience this last week in which I took some time with my husband to attend a personal growth conference. It felt so wonderful to hear new ideas and talk about those ideas together. It was a challenging time to get away but we did it and we were glad we did.
So here is to learning more about self-care and how you fit in this wonderful world we live in. Weather you do this on your own or with your loved one, it is well worth your time and effort. Personal growth and happiness can help create the foundation for a rich and rewarding relationship.
It may feel seeking happiness is a bit selfish. But it is not. Being happy puts you in a place that allows you to show your best side to your loved ones. It makes a real difference in our relationships. I am sure many of you have heard the old saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy.” Well there may be some truth to that. Of course this saying includes Dads as well. It is hard to be with someone who is not happy. And if the “not happy feelings” are more long-term they can affect others wanting to spend time with you, thus disrupting your relationship. In addition, children model their parents, so if you are modeling being unhappy, you may find your children follow this path. So taking time to be happy is a good thing for you and your family.
Ways to bring more happiness into your life and in turn to your loved ones.
- Check in with yourself and see if you feel you are doing what you want to do with your life. We all want to feel we have a purpose for our lives. This may be different at different stages of our lives. So be flexible with your thinking on this one.
- Decide to find happiness in the NOW. Waiting until a particular thing happens or changes steals your opportunity to be happy at the present time. Yes we may need to make changes, but finding the things that we are currently grateful for can put us on the road to happiness in the present moment.
- Keep a daily ‘gratitude journal’, listing 3-5 things a day that you are grateful or glad about.
- Hang with Happy People. We are affected by those around us. When we choose to spend most of our time with others who are happy we begin to feel more happy too.
- Make a list of things you love to do. Include these things as regularly in your life as possible. You deserve it!
- Acknowledge and honor your unhappy feelings, with then coming to a place where you can CHOOSE to BE HAPPY. Use of positive self talk and affirmations that promote these happy feelings that you want to have can be a big help in this process.
- Talk to others when you feel happy. As humans we tend to be drawn to wanting to talk about what is making us unhappy. When we choose to talk more about what makes us happy, we get more of those feelings.
Being happy is not just for you, it is for your loved ones and those around you. Best wishes in your path to finding the happiness you were created to have.