Relationships are Crucial for Health and Happiness
Chris Peterson summed up decades of research by stating, “Other people matter.” It was his way of highlighting how significant relationships and connection with others are to your happiness and well-being.
High-quality relationships are the gold standard of connection, and researcher Jane Dutton cites four ways to make your relationships more high-quality:
- Respectfully engage others by communicating supportively and being an effective listener
- Facilitate another person’s success with guidance, recognition and support
- Build trust, which can be done by relying on another person to follow through on projects and other commitments
- Have moments of play. Play evokes positive emotions and is often associated with creativity and innovation
The number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has nearly tripled in the past 30 years. This provides evidence of the fact that we’re living further apart from our families and loved ones and spending way too much time on our devices.
Having good connections with others provides a whole host of health and wellness benefits. Close relationships give you the opportunity to love and be loved; they can be a source of fun, and laughter is a great stress reliever; and relationships influence your emotional well-being and development.
A way to build stronger connections with others is a through a technique called Active Constructive Responding. When a friend or family member approaches you with a problem, how do you respond? Like many people, you probably suggest pulling up a chair, or you drop what you’re doing and listen. But how do you respond when those same people share good nes with you? Does the good news grab your focus and attention like the bad news does? Research tells us it should. How you respond to a persons good news is as important for the health of the relationship as how you respond to the bad news.
Active constructive responding takes just a minute or two, but the relationship payoff is huge. If you support other people when they share good news with you, they’ll be more likely to come to you with bad news because you’ve built up a bank of trust (and remember how important trust is to building those high-quality relationships). That is vital in your role as a manager at work or as a parent. If your’re managing a group of people, you depend on your associated and employees to tell you when things aren’t going well. As a parent, you want to know when your kids have concerns. Once you are off someone’s list as a person to approach with good news, you’ll be off their list as a person they can trust with bad news.
Here is my challenge to you: Pick one relationship you want to improve, and set a specific goal in the coming month to make it more high-quality.