The biggest source of happiness is relationships with other people, so spend lots of time this week with your children if you have them, also brothers, sisters, and parents. It’s what you’d do if you only had a week left to live, so that’s how important it must be. Can you set up regular situations where you spend quality time with your loved ones? And can you improve those difficult relationships? Consider forgiving or apologizing first.
- The biggest source of happiness of all, bar none, is relationships with other people, so this has to be something that we become good at. And really, it's about time. Having enough time to spend with the people we like or love or who make us happy. If you had only six months left to live, or even just a week left to live, what would you do? When I ask people this, they always say they'd spend time with their loved ones which shows that they are the most important things in the world, and yet, we get so caught up with all the small stuff of life, all the urgent stuff that it's easy to forget to spend time with the people we love.
Did you know that the average American father only spends 24 minutes a week with his kids? That's less than five minutes a day, at least that was the figure back in the 1990s when my kids were little. I didn't really believe this statistic until I started monitoring myself, and I was often away traveling, working late, getting home stressed, and checking my emails, maybe just taking five minutes to say good night to the kids and tuck them up in bed, maybe read them a quick bedtime story.
Now that they're older, they're away at college or working, so I often don't see them for weeks on end. All I get is the occasional text from my son saying please send more money, so maybe that figure of five minutes is right. So I only spent five minutes a day with my kids. Do I regret it? Well, yes absolutely. I'd love to turn back to the clock and spend 10 or maybe even 15 minutes reading rabbit stories to my little daughter, but I can't.
So, what can you do to spend more time with your children and with your husband or wife or partner and with your parents and with your brothers and sisters and close friends? Maybe you could book in some time with them in your diary, or start a regular routine where you see them every evening or once a week. Tuesday night you spend with your brother, or maybe Tuesday could be date night with your partner, or another routine could be Saturday afternoons, you go fishing with your son or your dad or both.
And certainly, do your best to keep the relationships with your close relatives as smooth as you can. My mother didn't speak to her sister for about 10 years because of an argument they had, but now, they're friends again, and it's brilliant. Thank goodness for that. Relatives are too important to lose over a small argument. Sometimes, there are relatives who are never going to be a positive in your life, but generally, it's worth making an effort, cutting them some slack, and considering forgiveness, and maybe being the one to apologize first, if that will improve the future for you both.
So, what's going to be your plan starting today to improve the relationships that aren't as strong as they perhaps could be? And how will you arrange to regularly spend more time with the people who are important?
- Misbeliefs about happiness
- Focusing on good
- Building gratitude
- Eliminating sources of unhappiness
- Reducing stress