happiness

If you want to be happy, this is what you need to invest in!

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for a while!  I’ve been having computer issues that have been dramatically limiting my computer access.  The issue isn’t resolving as quickly as I would like (to put it mildly!) so I’m using it as an opportunity to practice patience and remembering to allow life to happen on G-d’s timeline and let go of my idea of when things have to happen.

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If you ask young people what’s most important to them, they’re likely to say ‘making money’ or ‘becoming famous’.  So much of our society is focused on these external goals.  While those goals are of value,  in a 75 year study of over 700 men, researchers wanted to determine- what makes a good life?  Is it the things that we strive for when we’re starting our adult lives?

The primary message to emerge from this study is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.  It’s nice to have more relationships and connections, but what matters more than the number of relationships is the quality of those relationships.

As I watched the video above, I thought about my own life and agreed that this is what has brought me the most happiness.  My husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary a week ago, tomorrow our youngest will turn 4 and two days later our oldest will turn 23.  So this is annually a period in which I’m conscious of completing one stage and turning the page to a new stage.

Over this period of time, there have been times of financial stress and of abundance, of physical health and physical challenge, of struggles and of triumphs.  Sometimes external validation has been there and sometimes it hasn’t. But throughout it all, the relationships with my immediate family members has given me a sense of stability and satisfaction.

It’s knowing the power of effectively investing in relationships that motivates my work as a parenting consultant.  As much as good relationships add to the quality of one’s life, constant conflict and stress in relationships downgrades your happiness  – even if in other areas you seem to have it all.  Often people feel hopeless and frustrated about relationships with their spouse and children, but just because that’s how it is now doesn’t mean that’s how it needs to stay.

We all want happiness but as the speaker above said, relationships can be complicated and messy, it’s hard work and it’s life-long.  However, the benefits of creating those relationships are deeply valuable; they heavily influences physical health, emotional health, cognitive health and life span.

After all these years of marriage, I continue to look for ways to invest in my marital relationship.  I shared with you about going away together for the weekend recently; we also go out once a week together.  It’s not where we go but just making space away from the house and kids that matters.  But once a week wouldn’t be enough if we didn’t connect during the week!  If a couple of days go by without having significant conversation together (not the day to day business of co-running a home kind of talk), it feels like something important is missing.

How do you invest in keeping relationships healthy and strong?  If your relationships aren’t supportive of you, what can you do to improve them or find other ways to nurture yourself?

Avivah

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