We all want to feel happy, loved… hell… we want to have fun, positive experiences, yeah?
Some people try to reach those happy states of being by booking in for an extravagant holiday, others let a Hollywood movie deliver them that cliché ‘happily ever after’.
But where are those real happy (warm and fuzzy inside) feelings to be found?
In the people, not the activities.
Whether it’s cleaning the house or playing a game of footy, the interactions you have with the person you are doing it with, make all the difference.
With the right company a mundane chore can become a great bonding experience – a time to laugh and really connect with another human.
How many times have you been doing something you absolutely love, only to feel disappointed because the person you were with put a dampener on the day?
The activities we engage in are only a teensy part of what fuels our overall happiness.
It’s the interactions we have with others that leave us feeling nourished and fulfilled on all levels.
You could be cleaning pig dung off your shoes and have a jolly time, because of the interactions that experience creates for the two of you.
Our relations with others are what really matter.
When our relations are positive, connections are formed, and it’s those connections that send happy chemicals through the body – we’re talking dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
The brain is its own chemist.
All you need is a prescription of positive interactions to get your next hit!
It’s no surprise that marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.
If that ratio is 1 to 1, divorce is a likely ‘ever after’.
Apply that to the workplace and stats show that colleagues with a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions or greater, are significantly more productive.
What does this mean for us?
We need to engage each other with more smiles, kind words, encouragement, gratitude, meaningful conversations and honest dialogues.
We need to be real.
We need to look on the bright side and we need to be willing to show ourselves in a way that allows for a deeper and lasting connection.
Decide to make whatever you’re doing FUN!
My partner and I had to do the food shopping on the weekend – not our favourite activity of the week.
So after a discussion about the benefits of laughter – boosting happy chemicals in the brain and building rapport with strangers – we started laughing.
Not once, not twice, but continuously for the rest of the day.
Fake laughs, silly laughs, playful laughs – any laugh that put the colour into our shopping.
We ended up genuinely laughing, connecting; playing together.
Laughter brings people together.
We had more energy, we were loving to each other despite any other stresses, and most importantly we had FUN!
And stacks of it.
We’d planned to spend the rest of our day planting a vegie box and despite neither of us really knowing how to do it, we learnt together in a really beautiful environment.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in negative interactions.
Some people actually become addicted to them!
It becomes part of our programming.
We see the negative interactions as our way to be noticed, to be seen.
No one truly enjoys negative interactions.
We all crave love and affection and heart-felt gestures and words.
So my advice is to really focus on cultivating positive interactions with everyone you meet, knowing that it is those relations with another that make the activity enjoyable and life giving.
And don’t just restrict those positive relations to people you know.
Next time you’re on a bus or walking down the street, flick a stranger a smile and see what chemicals gush forth.