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The Key to Happiness Is to Get Connected!


To become connected to others in kind and caring relationships is paramount to our happiness as a people. The pursuit of happiness is guaranteed as an inalienable right in our constitution, cultivated in our faith traditions, and supported in our families, schools and communities. To become truly happy, we must get connected to others.
The need to get connected is equally true for introverts as extroverts and for adults and children. However, in today's fast-paced and mobile world, the ability to get connected to others is often challenging.
Whether you are reaching out to a new community, going through a major life transition, or you are simply shy, these tips can help you reach out and create more friendships and thus, more happiness in your life.
  • Take a class: Extension classes, community colleges, and universities all offer venues of exploration into worlds that foster your interests. You are sure to meet people who share these interests. This creates an easy opportunity to meet for coffee or take a walk and discuss ideas, which in turn, builds deeper connections.

  • Join a religious community: Whether you are already involved in a particular faith tradition or curious about one, these communities usually welcome visitors and new people. Research has also shown that people who belong to faith-based communities feel more connected and often create friendships that transcend the boundaries of the faith community.

  • Volunteer: Compassion is a part of happiness and people who volunteer often find a purpose and a passion for life that was missing before they started volunteering. You will meet others who share your convictions; and research has also shown that those who practice random acts of kindness are happier than those who do not.

  • Join a professional meet-up group or fraternal organization: The internet is a great place to find local professional groups that meet regularly. This creates business alliances, and also allows you to meet people who share your professional interests. Often people with similar personality types gravitate to similar professions, thus assuring an ease in relationship building.

  • Start a blog: Blogging is a great way to reach out to people with similar interests. The topics to blog about and the ability to get connected to like-minded people are practically endless. Even though you may never meet most of your readers in person, the exchange of ideas, the self-confidence you build, and the ability to express yourself in an open and authoritative way creates a substantial venue for greater happiness. People who live in isolated areas, are naturally introverted, or have a physical disability that limits mobility have especially found this venue rewarding. If over time, you establish a large enough following, blogging can open doors to convention speaking and group or professional lectures.
Another interesting side effect of relationship building is that when you get connected to others you create what I call "Happiness to the Fourth Power". Sociologists and psychologists have done extensive research on happiness, and it seems that when we interact with happy people or with children, it is not only we who become happier, but we inspire happiness to the fourth power. In other words, to our friends, friends, friends too! How cool is that!
We all love people who exude authenticity, open-mindedness and a down-to-earth nature. It is why most people enjoy being around children. People who are open, playful and trusting give us permission to be the same. Knowing that you are seen for who you really are and acknowledged for your skills and interests is a very fulfilling experience and the basis for positive and lasting relationships.
In the movie Avatar, when the Na'vi people declared their love for each other, the expression they used was "I see you". When we feel someone sees us for our true nature, and accepts us with all of our perfections and foibles, it creates a high level of connectivity and happiness.
Also note that things can create momentary happiness, but the ability to get connected to other people will bring more sustainable happiness. Studies have shown that within a relatively short period, people who win large amounts of money in the lottery resort back to the level of happiness or unhappiness, which preceded the winning. They may have more things, but they have no greater long-term happiness.
Social scientists call this hedonic adaptation. On whole, humanity is quite adaptive to new situations and circumstances; but fairly quickly, we revert to old behavior, identity norms and levels of happiness.
All of this considered, the single most important thing we can do to create happiness in our lives is to get connected to others.
Helen Gibson is an Educator, Life Coach, Blogger and Artist. Her work reflects a lifelong commitment to the human potential movement and why we need to get connected to each other. To read more about my focus, connect with my artwork and share in the opportunities, please visit http://www.HelenGraceGibson.com

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