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Why Relationships are Crucial to Your Health and Happiness

Oct. 9, 2014 US News & World Report

World-renowned psychologist Chris Peterson was once asked if he could sum up decades of positive psychology research, and he said, “Other people matter.” It was his way of emphasizing how important relationships and connection with others are to your happiness and well-being.

I thought about Peterson’s words early last month when I received some tough news of my own right before I left for a business trip. Since I own my own business, I don’t take much time off, but that’s just what I did in order to recover. The biggest thing that helped me bounce back effectively was that I had surrounded myself with great people – people I trust.

Not everyone in my family or in my circle of friends knew what was going on, and I strategically picked certain people to share this information with; people with whom I enjoy a different type of connection – a high-quality connection.

High-quality relationships are the gold standard of connection, and researcher Jane Dutton cites four ways to make your relationships more high-quality:

  1. Respectfully engage others by communicating supportively and being an effective listener.
  2. Facilitate another person’s success with guidance, recognition and support.
  3. Build trust, which can be done by relying on another person to follow through on projects and other commitments.
  4. Have moments of play. Play evokes positive emotions and is often associated with creativity and innovation.
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