The third “HOW” for making the most of the 12 happiness increasing activities listed in “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky, is:
To be clear – one of the 12 activities I will start talking about shortly is actually “Nurturing Relationships”, this is different than “Social Support”.
What we mean my social support is simply having a strong base of people around you who can offer Informational, Tangible, or Emotional support.
Informational Support – is offering thoughts on ways to do activities, helping you brainstorm, etc. Essentially helping by offering useful information on how to best increase your happiness.
Tangible Support – is offering rides to the gym, being a workout buddy (or a buddy for any of the activities you do). This is the physical ways others can help you in your efforts to increase you happiness.
Emotional Support – this is fairly straight forward, those who provide reassurance, solace, inspiration, etc as you go through the ups and downs of starting a happiness practice in your life.
In all my research, social support is something that comes up repeatedly. Having someone do something with, or someone you can talk to when things are not working, or even just friends who support you and think what you are doing is great – these types of support make a HUGE difference in life, especially when you are embarking on a new path and learning new behaviors – like building a happiness practice.
Studies have shown that, in general, those who are able to “invest” in others are more productive, engaged, energetic, and resilient when it comes to overcoming difficult life circumstances. As opposed to those who keep everything bottled up inside and “divest” or remove themselves from the company of others, when things are not going well.
I’ve done a lot of looking into personality theory, and more over my empirical evidence from years as a coach has taught me one thing clearly: Everyone Is Different
As far as personality goes, roughly 25% of the population tends toward “introversion” as opposed to “extroversion”, this means that some people do not get the “HIGH” of being around people. They prefer to “regenerate” their energy by being alone. They probably also have a smaller group of friends, but tend to have much deeper relationships with that group.
What I am saying is that SOME people may not get the same benefits from all types of social support as others.
I know people who are much more productive and effective when working alone – they still like to talk to others to work through tough things or get a sense that ‘yes, there are others out there who support me’ but they do it in a much more “hands off” way.
Essentially, when it comes to social support (like pretty much anything else) find what works best for you: how you want it, and in what quantities, and when, and so on.
So until the next time, keep laughing … with others if needed.