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People Matter

by Beth on November 19th, 2013

Your relationships are one of the most important factors affecting your happiness. Being around people reduces our stress and increases our joy. People give us help and emotional support.

This means that you need to nurture your relationships. Call your parents, go on date nights, help a colleague at work, plan a trip to visit your sister. Make an effort to connect with others.

If you think you’re too busy to go out with friends, think again! The more stressed we are, the less likely we are to spend time with others. But that is exactly when we need people the most.

I started my career as a professor at a university in Madrid, Spain. I was super stressed about teaching my first college classes, doing research so I could get tenure, and learning to speak Spanish. Every morning colleagues would stop by my office and say, “Vamos a tomar café!”. I was like, coffee? I just got here! And I have a ton of work to do! But they were always very persistent. Then they’d show up a few hours later saying it was time for lunch. I told my husband I was never going to get tenure because nobody let me work.

But it turns out that the friends I made over coffee and lunch are a big reason I did get tenure. They kept me going at times when it would have been easy for me to throw in the towel. They gave me advice for my research, showed me how to use PowerPoint, and women who also had young children gave me the emotional support I needed to keep smiling despite many sleep deprived nights. I’m sure you can think of someone who has made a similar difference in your life.

Trust me, the time you spend connecting with others is time well spent. Who will you make an effort to connect with this week?

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