If you’re looking for a great way to start the day, that doesn’t even involve getting out of bed, you’ve come to the right place!
I’m sure you’ve heard a number of recommendations on different ways to start your day: drink a glass of water, do some stretching, or brush your teeth. Those are all normal things to consider for a way to start the day, but I’m going to promote something a little different.
The Best Way To Start the Day
Think of three people that you want to connect with throughout your day.
That sounds pretty simple, but in the busy world that we live in, we get into routines. We focus on task lists and checking things off of those lists. We focus on interactions on what we need. It is all about me, myself, and I.
Instead, if we change our focus and perspective from our task lisks (yes, we need to get things done) to figuring out how we can build relationships and rapport while getting things done, this is a pivotal shift that can increase our happiness. Instead of rushing through the list trying to accomplish all of the things, if we weave people time into our day, we feel so much more connected and accomplished at the end of each day.
This advice on a great way to start the day is not something I made up, it is a recommendation from Dr. John Gottman, which is outlined in his book The Relationship Cure. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it!
Dr. Gottman is a world-renowned researcher in the field of marital stability and divorce prediction. He has conducted 40 years of award-winning research on marriage and parenting, and was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century by the Psychotherapy Networker. If there is anyone MPower Co would turn to first for research-based education on relationships, it’s Dr. Gottman and The Gottman Institute.
Why Connecting with Others Is Important Each Day
Dr. Thia, MPower Co’s Director of Education and Positive Psychology Specialist, says. “healthy relationships are protective.” Having a strong connection to other individuals improves not only our mental well-being but also our physical well-being.
Research consistently shows that the more well-connected we are to other individuals the happier we are, the more positive we feel about our security, and it increases the meaning in each of our days. Relationships can also play an important role in protecting our mental cognition. That’s right, those who have stronger relationships have a better memory longer in life, than those who are isolated or not-connected to others.
So, if you need a reason for why a perfect way to start the day is determining others you wish to connect with throughout the day, your mental capacity will thank you for it later!
Other Important Things to Know About Connecting with Others
1. It is Quality of Relationships, not Quantity that matters.
I personally think that social media gives us this aura that it’s the number of relationships that matter. For instance, on Instagram there is this constant question of how many people are following you or how many people are following influencers or famous people, etc. Those numbers signify nothing when it comes to deep-rooted relationships.
It is the quality of relationships that matter, not the quantity. If you think about it, putting our energy into having 3-5 great relationships is a lot easier and less-stressful than having 50 great relationships (just think of coordinating get-togethers with that many people, having that many phone calls to converse each week, etc.!).
I know someone who was surrounded by a group of individuals. There was a point where this group began excluding the individual that I know, and acted in other ways that were at a minimum hurtful. The person I knew needed to make a choice. Were the friendships within that group more good or bad for their happiness? The person chose to invest the time and energy elsewhere after further consideration. While practicing some forgiveness is in order for the person’s happiness, moving on and forward with other friendships made this person happier in the long-run.
The research says that continuing to try to force a friendship where one is not welcome is a waste of time. It’s ok to not be friends with everyone, but to invest in the relationships that do matter and make our lives better is critical to long-term happiness and an overall sense of well-being.
2. Sibling Relationships are the Most Common Relationships that Drift Away
We work to stay connected to our spouses, our parents, our friends; however, the first relationships that take a backseat are the relationships we have with our siblings. Just simply knowing this can put it on your radar to talk with your siblings more, encourage and support each other.
Me being aware of this research has improved the relationship I have with my brother. I work harder to communicate and check in with him. I try not to assume I know what is going on in his every-day. I ask questions and invite him to more things than perhaps I did before. I have two girls, and it is my hope that they not only will be great sisters to each other but friends as well.
Summing Up Thoughts on a Way to Start the Day Set for Success
So, whether you think about who you want to connect with before you get out of bed, over your morning cup of coffee, or to start your work day, prioritize finding three people to have a meaningful interaction with. Don’t simply think about what they can do to improve your life, but think about how you can improve theirs.
This can be with coworkers, friends, parents, (and hopefully your siblings!). You can have a meaningful interaction in so many ways. By meeting in person and having a thoughtful conversation without interruption, using your electronics when you are physically apart (I am currently loving the Marco Polo app for video messaging friends) to bring you closer together, or sending a nice email or a physical card! Showing gratitude or kindness, even if you only have a moment to do so, can go a long way for connecting with another.
Want More on Relationship Research?
We live in a society that is all about giving advice or telling people what we heard from others. My mind doesn’t work like that. I always think about what the research says. So, if you are looking for what the relationship says on building an effective, lasting relationship, head over to this blog: Forget Relationship Advice: Her is What Relationship Researchers Say to Focus On. You can use the information to help you in both romantic and platonic relationships.
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