Some people are naturally ‘people people’. I don’t mean they are extraverted, or introverted. I mean they just like people. I’m like that. I just like people. I like talking, I like listening, and I like to learn about others. When I’m on holiday, I’ll ask 101 questions to tour guides and the like so I get what it’s like to be in that place.
One of the best things that positive psychology tells us about improving our wellbeing is that seeking out the company of others is of huge benefit to our psychological wellbeing. In a previous post, I spoke about positive energy networks. But that was focused at work. Personally though, there are some very pertinent actions we should be encouraging to help each other understand how to live a better life, and to be happier in this life.
If you recall, originally, therapy and the likes aims to take people suffering from some sort of depression or other mental anxiety from a state of ‘-1’ to ‘-5’ to a state of ‘0’. ‘0’ in this instance meaning ‘normal’. Positive psychology aims to take you from a state of ‘0’ to a state of ‘+5’. And that’s what fascinates me. That’s where I think we can do so much more in our lives to truly make a difference to ourselves.
There’s plenty to personally do in terms of the food we eat, the exercise we take, the work/life balance we try and achieve. But there’s also something very conscious we need to do about the people we connect with. And this is quite possibly the hardest thing to be conscious of, while at the same time being the most rewarding.
When I leave home in the morning, and I start that daily routine, at what point am I connecting with someone, and at what point am I just a passer-by? Mostly, I won’t care about my fellow commuters, we happen to be in the same space because of circumstance, not through choice. But then someone falls over. Or someone falls ill. Or someone gets irate with another passenger. Or someone sneezes. Do we intervene? Should we? What benefit is there to us? What difference does it make if I offer assistance?
You arrive at work. You say pleasant hello’s to the security guard. Walking to your desk/office you do more of the same. And then you start to do your work. Where have you connected with any one of those people? Do you need to? Are they important enough to you? And what about when you go about your work. Bob comes to have a chat with you. Brenda sends you an email asking for that information. Billy needs an urgent response to that question. Are these transactions or are these times to connect and make a difference?
You talk with your friends at some point. You share some banter. Talk about something trivial. Make an effort to remember events and let them know you care. If you didn’t talk to them would your day have passed any differently? Would you have missed them? Would they have missed you?
There’s a clear bias to my questions, and it’s in line with what I want to get you to think about. This isn’t just about ‘active listening’ or ‘great customer service’. This is about your wellbeing, through the connections you actively choose to, or not make. And at the same time being mindful that your connection will have an impact on the person you’re with. Everyone gains something by being connected to.