September 9, 2013

The Happiness Secret

I’m about to tell you the secret to being happy. 

Remember the first day of kindergarten, or when you moved in 10th grade?  Can you remember that biting loneliness, the acute sense of isolation in a sea of kids?  It was a tough first day no matter what grade you were in.  Remember how your life changed instantly, dramatically, when you made your first friend?

Fifty years of happiness research done across cultures shows that the number one contributor to people’s happiness is how closely connected they feel to other people.  How many good friends you have, how close you are to your family and neighbors, the strength of your work relationships – these forms of connectedness contribute to your happiness more than anything else in life.   Happiness and social connectedness have a stronger relationship than smoking and cancer – in fact, they’re so closely related they can almost be equated.  So next time you’re in the middle of something “important” and your friend asks you to hang out, choose your friend.  The cleaning can wait.

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