There has been a lot of talk recently surrounding the subject of happiness. People talk about happiness at work, happiness during leisure time, happiness as a form of self-worth and even the concept of happiness economics. But what exactly is the golden formula to achieve this feeling that seems to evade so many of us? Could it be the right amount of money that we earn throughout our lives or simply a greater feeling of contentment?
As we can see from the above image, happiness can be deemed a form of carefreeness that only comes when we are truly comfortable. To achieve this, there has been many different theories giving conflicting information.
For example, one Harvard study suggests that money can actually buy happiness, providing that the money is spent in the right way. Purchasing things such as a phone or new laptop often leads to activities that are carried out independently and as such can lead to isolation. Furthermore, buying a high value item, such as a smartphone, usually comes with the stress of waiting for the product and the added annoyance of having to configure the item once it does arrive.
Alternatively, the study reveals that spending money on experiences such as eating out for dinner or going on holiday can create this sense of happiness that many of us look for. In fact, it is commonly noted that the most exciting experience of an event is actually before it has even happened! Therefore experiences can make us feel happier than buying material goods. And the way to achieve maximum happiness is to spend these experiences with people we have strong connections with, namely our families.
It therefore may shock some people that on average we spend less than forty minutes per day with our families. Simply, in our modern twenty-four-hour society we have far too many distractions and not enough time. Also, this trend doesn’t come without resentment because 93% of people actually wish that they could spend more time with the family every week.
More than the emotional connections and friendships that we make with different family members, relatives are also a powerful support networks that can be a great source of advice. Even if sometimes we don’t want to hear it! The way in which we interact with these connections can make our lives easier.
The fact is that while we live in such an unpredictable and fast paced world, family represents one of the only constants in life and that’s why it is important to console in them. Even if you haven’t spoken to family members in years, it is important to reconnect because those all-too-common family feuds generally take a terrible toll on people who hold these grudges.
And family isn’t just confined to those that have a blood bond it can be anyone who feels as though they should be kin. It can be a half-brother, a step dad or simply someone that you’ve known for a long time. The truth is that being connected with family and having stronger relationships enables people to be happier, healthier and actually helps them to live longer.
One reason that spending more time with family is so beneficial to us is that they can be influential to what sort of lifestyle we as individuals leave. Most of the time this influence is positive and can help us with everything from eating the right foods, to doing more exercise to simply having a good laugh more of the time.
However, the unfortunate reality is that when we grow older, less and less time is spent with our loved ones; so much so that we can even see an unbalance in family makeup. For example, when children grow up they rely on their parents to a great extent but as the very same people grow older, we tend to see that this isn’t reciprocated. Parents are therefore often neglected as they grow older due to their children having busy lifestyles.
This is why it is even more crucial to ensure that time is set aside dedicated to family members. And often as you spend this time with the relatives it will become less of chore and more of an enjoying process. If you find it particularly hard to dedicate time to seeing the family because of work then try and schedule just one week of your annual leave to visit relatives that might live far afield.