While alone time is important for creativity and inspiration, spending quality time with friends and family is just as important.
Research shows that spending time with friends and family makes a big difference when it comes to happiness. Social time is especially important for happiness, even for introverts. Studies have proven that the amount of time spent with friends and family goes a long way towards boosting happiness – even more so than an increased income!
Spending time with family and friends can even help you cope with stress. As Harvard happiness expert, Daniel Gilbert explains: “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” So while money can’t buy you happiness, spending time with the ones you love, is always a good investment!
Spend Time with Family
Spending time with family is one of the best ways to create memorable experiences. Nothing can replace the time you spend with your family. This is especially true if you have children. With younger children, there’s a good chance that you already spend a lot of time with them. With older children and teenagers who may prefer to spend time with their friends, it can be more difficult to carve out family time.
If you don’t know where to start, consider starting small: dinner at the table or a board game in the evening. If games aren’t your family’s idea of a good time, try outside activities – perhaps a walk to the park. Even projects around the house can be a great way to get everyone involved and working towards a goal. Encourage your family to spend time together by looking out for opportunities to do things that everyone would be interested in. It may be a challenge at first, but soon it will become second nature.
Spend Time with Friends
As we get older and life gets faster, the time we once had for our friends seems to diminish. You might not notice it at first, but soon your coffee dates are being replaced by school meetings. Your carefree mornings are busy and rushed, and the phone calls you used to make daily to chat with your best friend are slowly turning into every other week (or month!) catch-up calls. Fitting in time for friends is sadly one of the first things to go when life gets busy, and before you know it – you hardly know the person you used to call your best friend.
This fact is though, that while this is tragic, it’s also preventable! Spending time with friends is one of the few pleasures in life that can cost you very little, but reward you substantially. It is also proven to be one of the best ways to combat stress. Spending time with your friends can help melt away the cares of the world and leave you a better person all around.
Carve out time for your friends, by scheduling it in. One way to do this successfully is to find common goals you both might have and spend your time together working on reaching those goals – accomplishing two things at the same time and making it easier to find time to spend with friends. An example would be working out together, walking the pets together, trying new things together, or scheduling the kids’ play dates with each other. You could also look out for special occasions to spend time with each other. These events don’t have to be huge social events. It could be as simple as inviting friends over to watch the Super Bowl or having your spouse look after the kids so you can go out for coffee.
Additional Benefits of Spending Time With Friends and Family
Some health benefits of maintaining a healthy quality time with your friends and family include:
Spending time with family and friends relieves stress: According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, individuals who spend more time with family and friends tend to have better coping mechanisms when it comes to handling stress. They tend to use their social group as a stress buffer, allowing them to communicate their stress instead of seeking negative coping mechanisms like alcohol and tobacco.
Helps your overall well-being: Social groups provide emotional support, which helps you feel better about yourself. In fact, people who view their friends and family as supportive tend to have a greater feeling of meaning in life and a stronger sense of purpose than those who did not.
It’s great for heart health: Stress can encourage the development of inflammation in the arteries, which is a precursor to clogged arteries. A study found that when individuals have the support of family and friends, they actually have a lower pulse and blood pressure which, in time, helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now go call a friend or family member!
Spending more time with your friends and family is beneficial to your mental wellbeing, as well as your relationships. With friends and family, your good times are better, and your sorrows are shared – so don’t overlook this important area in life!