Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Want to know the secret to happiness? Let me quickly tell you what it is not. Happiness will not come from the dollar amount in your bank account, the amount of flights that you take, the amount of followers that you have on Instagram, or even the amount of ice cream that you eat to make yourself feel better. True happiness comes from connection. When you feel emotionally connected to people, and that connection is a healthy one, the happiness that you find in your day to day life will increase significantly! There was a happiness study done where people were followed from the time they were born to the day that they died. They found that the ones who were the happiest, were the ones that had the best relationships with their family and friends.
Who here has ever felt alone? I have! For those of you who don’t know me, I have a huge passion for travel. I spend almost all of my money on it. I love being in a new country, meeting new people, experiencing cultures, and seeing new beautiful places. The rush I feel when I experience an “I can’t believe I did this/ I’m here” moment is so so huge for me. I spent almost 4 years straight traveling from country to country and I am so grateful for the amazing opportunities that I have had along the way. But every good thing has its consequences. I’m even reluctant to tell this story because it is usually followed by “oh… poor world traveler” *cue huge eye roll*. I’m going to share it because I think it paints the picture of the importance and power of connection perfectly.
About a year and a half ago, I was in Thailand, one of my favorite countries ever with my best friend. On this particular trip, although it should have been incredible, it wasn’t, because I was lonely. Prior to this Thailand trip, I had been in Europe for several months and then Bali. It was a go go go trip and I was having an amazing time experiencing the world. All the while, neglecting my relationships back at home. I was so busy experiencing, that I didn’t nurture my roots. My family and friends are busy people as well, and they weren’t by any means, waiting around to hear from me either, but as a result, I was completely disconnected and it was one of the loneliest times in my life.
As human beings, we CRAVE connection. We need to be seen, cared for and loved. Whether you are just starting University or a job in a new place and you don’t know anyone, you just had a baby and you feel isolated in your own home, or you’re across the world from everyone you love and care for, you can change the way that you feel by becoming better connected.
Surprise, Surprise, I still travel all the time, but I don’t feel lonely anymore when I’m gone. I spent a lot of time focusing on my relationships to keep myself grounded and connected. Here are some things that I’ve learned to create better connection and become happier as a result.
1. When You Don’t Have Time, Make Time.
We are all busy people. Whether you have a job, you’re traveling the world, or you’re the super mom of 8, you need connection just like everyone else. Busy people are the ones most prone to disconnection and here is why. When life gets busy the first thing we throw our to save time, is nurturing relationships. As sad as that sounds it’s so true, but it’s because we know the people in our lives are still going to love us if we can’t talk to them for a week. Your mom is still going to be your mom, and your best friend is still going to love you. They are going to be fine, no one is going to die if you don’t talk to them for a week, but you are going to feel the lack of connection. Make time for people. Call your mom, call your sister on the way home from work, or as you walk around the grocery store. Find time for the important people in your life and feel the true joy that comes from genuine connection with the people that you love.
2. Use Your Resources
We live in the most amazing time! You can literally be anywhere in the world and contact anyone! You can literally see their face on your screen if you wanted to. Use your resources. And I mean USE them. A quick social media update is not connecting, reach out. When I was in Thailand and I was trying to connect myself again, the time difference was so off that when my family and friends were waking up back at home, I was going to sleep! Communication was tough, but rather than giving up and going to sleep, I would choose 2-3 people in my life to send a huge text to telling them how much I love and care about them. I couldn’t get a response until I woke up, but writing that text out made me feel so connected to the person, even if I wasn’t with them. Find ways that works for you. If texting isn’t your thing, make time for a phone call, even if it’s just 5 minutes, write someone a letter, FaceTime, grab lunch, or walk over to a neighbors house. Just the act of connecting in any way, will help you to fill your need to be cared about and in turn, you will be so much happier.
3. When You Want To Isolate Yourself, Reach Out
You know when life is just hitting you in the face and you want nothing more than to just sit in your room? When you want to isolate yourself, that is when you need to reach out the most. We all go through hard patches in our lives, and you know what we need? People. There are 7 billion of us out here! You really think you’re supposed to suffer in silence? NO. Reach out. Call your mom, send a text, call me! There are so many people that can be here for you if you let them. The things you might be going through are real, but you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out and bring more happiness into your life.
4. Meeting Someone New is One Conversation Away.
Some of you may be thinking, this is sweet and all Bri, but I have no one. Maybe it’s because you have a terrible relationship with your family or maybe you don’t have a strong group of friends. Remind yourself that meeting someone new is one conversation away. Put yourself out there, join a gym- go to a high fitness class and start a conversation with the person next to you! Bring cookies over to the neighbors house, reach out to someone on social media that you feel you already connect with, reach out to me! I have friends all over the world because of social media. The amount of people in your life can change. Your friends can become the family that you choose. You can have the most amazing connection with someone you don’t even know yet. Put yourself out there and get connected.
5. Genuinely Care
Here is the simple trick to deep connection, genuinely care. When you are genuine, you can feel it. It’s amazing how quickly someone will open up to a genuine listening ear. If you care about people, the good, the bad, and the in-between, they will care about you in return. Feeling genuinely cared about is the most comforting feeling out there. If we can extend that love to the the people around us we can be that much happier. Take care of your people. Genuinely care for them.
Imagine if we all felt cared about, loved and appreciated by someone. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much kinder we would be, and how much more willing to help each other. If we can meet each other’s needs to be remembered, thought of, loved, and cared about, we could all find that much more joy in our lives. If you need a friend, if you are lacking connection, reach out, I’m always willing to open a spot in my circle.