When we have had a horrid day it feels so good to get a big hug from someone we love. The feelings that go through our body in that moment makes everything feel that bit better. Our thoughts quieten and we can breathe out a long breath, releasing tension we are holding inside. We know that this person has our back. This article describes how loving others in successful relationships not only helps us when we are stressed, they also bring us happiness and improve our wellbeing.
There is a wealth of research into happiness. The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the longest studies of happiness. It has studied the happiness of over 2000 people over 75 years and is still going. It has found that love for others through successful relationships bring happiness more than money, fame, work achievements, social class, IQ and genes. In addition it revealed that successful relationships protect us from stress, help to delay mental and physical decline and even help us live longer.
So it would seem our closest relationships have the most significance in our lives. We can increase our happiness and health by building and sustaining successful relationships. We may have relationships with our spouse, family, friends and community. It is key to our happiness that we consider our relationships to be successful. Marriages filled with conflict, family feuds and argumentative friendships are toxic to our happiness and our health. Of course, successful relationships will be hard and challenging at times. We may bicker, have fall outs, differ in opinions, be distracted or busy. It won’t be plain sailing all the time. But ultimately we know when the going gets tough we have each other’s back. We are there for one another and love each other.
Barriers to Successful Relationships
But what if we find it difficult to build and sustain successful relationships? Some of us may be very loving to others but still not consider our relationships successful. We may not be treated with love in return by those we love. We may be giving ourself to others without caring and loving ourself. While some of us may find it difficult to love and trust others. If we have had bad experiences in the past, we can find it difficult to open ourselves up to being hurt again. Some of us may be unhappy within ourself, preventing others from loving us. We can feel very lonely and isolated when we are unhappy in our relationships.
Overcoming barriers to building and sustaining successful relationships may take some time and may involve some difficult decisions. We can get help to identify and overcome difficulties by working with a coach or therapist, by working through self-help books or attending workshops or courses. The rewards of loving others in successful relationships are so worth the time we invest in them.
Make Time to Love Others
Our relationships may matter more to our health, wellbeing and happiness than any other single factor. We may have set goals for the year and many of you may have included relationships in your goals. But let’s go one step further, let’s put our relationships as our top priority, our top goal and see what this does for our happiness, our health and our ability to manage stress. Let’s reduce our screen time and spend more time with each other. Let’s speak to each other more, see each other more, go on outings, go on dates, spend time playing with our children. Do what feels right to you to build and sustain successful relationships. You will find a happier you when you love others in successful relationships.
I hope you have found this article helpful. Next week I will post Love your life for a happier you in 2018. Until then have a brilliant one.
With thanks to Lotte Meijer for this week’s feature image.