The key to happiness is neither money nor fame, at least if a comprehensive American study is to be believed. This is how you achieve happiness – according to science!
An 85-year-old study conducted by researchers at Harvard shows that the key to happiness is positive relationships. The comprehensive study points out that close relationships play a greater role in our well-being – both psychologically and physically – than, for example, social position, IQ or genes.
An important point from the study is that it is just positive relationships that make the big difference. So how do you go about developing healthy relationships? Here are some tips:
1. Get to know yourself
In order to develop healthy relationships, it is important that you know yourself well. If you are aware of your own feelings, you can more easily express yourself in a clear and effective way. If, on the other hand, you have difficulty managing your emotions, or expressing them in a healthy way, this can have a negative impact on your mental health.
2. Work on the relationship
Healthy relationships don’t happen out of thin air – they are created. Building positive relationships requires dedication and a willingness to meet each other’s needs.
3. Set (and respect) boundaries
Think about what your boundaries are and communicate them clearly. This can facilitate a lot in relationships – not least because it reduces the risk of unrealistic expectations.
Setting boundaries in a healthy way means:
- Saying no to things you don’t want to do
- To express your feelings in a responsible way
- To talk about your experiences in an open and honest way
- Dealing with issues with the person concerned, rather than with a third party.
- Being clear about your expectations rather than assuming people can read your mind.
4. Learn to listen
Conflict is inevitable in relationships. What matters is how you listen to each other: listen to the other person to try to understand them rather than responding to speech.
Equally important is expressing your own feelings and vulnerabilities to people you trust.
5. Release the control
You do not have control over other people’s actions. Keeping this in mind will save you both time and stress.
Being able to express emotions in a healthy way also makes it easier to deal with the emotions of others. Anger, for example, is often rooted in hurt or upset feelings – if you can recognize this, you can also communicate it and thus build stronger relationships with others.
Think about the most successful relationships in your life. What properties do these relationships have, and how can you introduce properties into other relationships?
Sources: Mental Health Foundation, Positive Psychology