International Happiness Day: How Social Connection Can Be the Key

This International Happiness Day, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on what makes for lasting happiness. Read more to see why social connection can be key.

March 20th is the International Day of Happiness. Countries around the world are celebrating happiness and encouraging people to make life changes that can improve their moods and their relationships.

According to Action for Happiness, research shows that giving, relating, and exercising are on top the list of things that bring us happiness. At least the first two items on this list involve social connections.

If you are concerned about maintaining relationships with others, you aren’t alone. In an increasingly mobile society, keeping our connections, and making new ones, can be a challenge. This means that it is important to be intentional about reaching out to and being present for others.

Here are some ideas for creating and maintaining social connection with friends, family members, and neighbors:

  1. Schedule time to spend with others: There is no substitute for in-person contact. Contact local friends and family members and set up time to meet for coffee, a meal, or a fun activity, such as walking, gardening, or going out to see a show. In fact, why not set a goal for yourself, such as one “in-person” visit with someone each week?
  2. Stay in touch online: If your friends and family are spread out around the country (or even the world) getting together in person isn’t always practical. Fortunately, there are a lot of online tools that can help you stay connected, such as video chat via your GrandPad tablet or making regular updates to a family-only photostream.
  3. Initiate friendships and connections: It’s important to constantly make and renew relationships with others. Reach out to neighbors who you don’t know well. Reconnect with cousins and other extended family on social media. You might be surprised at how these connections blossom into genuine friendships.
  4. Maintain community involvement. The health of your local community depends on everyone getting involved. Get involved with neighborhood groups, charities, and local government. Not only will you make new friends, you’ll also have the satisfaction of giving back to your community.

Happiness, yours and others, is important. Take this March 20th to map out your plans for nurturing relationships and making 2017 your happiest year yet!