A 75-year Harvard study by Grant and Glueck tracked 724 participants from all walks of life and found that the key to long term fulfillment and happiness are positive relationships. Other studies confirm that those in supportive relationships live longer.
Healthy relationships require more than just knowing people or being “friends” on social media. However, many of us lament that we are “too busy” and don’t have time for relationships given packed schedules, stressful lives and turbulent environments.
Research shows that we build friendships by spending time with people. One thing we can do, even if we are busy, is to consciously intend to connect with those we interact with at home and work. It only takes an intention and a few minutes to really acknowledge someone. Simple actions such as appreciating a colleague or a family member or inquiring about their day and really listening can create a meaningful relationship. A few minutes of real empathy and caring can make a difference for you and the other person. You can even silently wish others well. Of course, taking time for coffee, a meal or a walk with a friend will further build the relationship. Don’t forget to call friends too.
Make it your intention to build relationships even with small micro-moments of connection over time. Notice the impact on you and others, as well as the quality of your environment.