positive psychology finding happiness los angeles therapy

Humans are innately social creatures. You’ve probably heard before that it’s hard wired into our biology to want and need to connect with others. What you may not know is that connection is a major contributor to achieving happiness.

When I say connection, I’m not implying that you need 100 friends to be happy. The quality of your connections is much more important than the quantity of your connections, so don’t get hung up on numbers.

Having quality relationships doesn’t mean everyone in your life has to be your new best friend. Quality is a relative term and is reflective of what you as an individual want your relationships to be. Think about what kind of relationships you want with different people in your life and work towards that. It could be crafting a great mentoring relationship with your supervisor or employees, getting on better terms with your parents or children, or deepening a friendship with someone you really admire.

Cultivating connection takes time, of course. If you’re looking for a quick boost of connection, try a random act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant; it can be as simple as helping a stranger in need or giving your partner a massage after a long day. This practice is most effective if you do several acts of kindness over the course of weeks. So try making it your new happiness habit!

Not all random acts of kindness are created equal, though. According to research, if your acts of kindness involve these two things, you’ll feel the happiest afterward:

1. You feel like it was your choice
If you feel forced to do something nice, you’re not going to get that same happy feeling. You have to actually want to do something kind for someone else.

2. You actually connect with the person
Makes sense, right? If you don’t connect with the person and can’t see the impact of your gesture, it’s like sending good vibes into a black hole. But if you actually are with the person, you can witness the joy you’re bringing or the lessening of pain your actions cause.

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Keep visiting the blog for more articles on how to foster connections with others, or contact Dr. Crystal I. Lee for a free 20 minute consultation to see how she can help you feel connected and happier.