The connections we have with family and friends have a huge impact on our lives. If they are healthy and fulfilling relationships, scientists have proven that we can expect to live longer. Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin collaborated with Business Insider last week to share with viewers a little change that can go a long way. The bestselling author who has written a multitude of books on happiness including The Happiness Project has a strategy that is particularly important in her family. Rubin says it is all about a specific rule and then adopting it every time you see people as opposed to making vague resolutions when it comes to relationships such as “try to be kinder”.
She says: “The key is to say a sincere and warm greeting every time someone you know arrives or leaves somewhere.” Saying hello or goodbye every time, you’re utilising an easy, measurable tool that doesn’t require much effort. “It’s to look the person in the eye; say hello; have a little exchange; and to acknowledge the fact that they are coming or going.” This habit is so powerful because it works to strengthen relationships for a few reasons. Particularly because it is measurable. You either said hello to someone or you didn’t.
In 2013, the Harvard Grant Study which took 75 years to conduct revealed that healthy and stable relationships are indeed the key to happiness. George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who directed the study from 1972 to 2004 says: “A person could have a successful career, money and good physical health, but without supportive, loving relationships, they wouldn’t be happy”.
Warm greetings and farewells are just the start to make a difference, but by doing so, people will consider you more friendly and approachable. Rubin says: “I am amazed at how much it creates a sense of connection and recognition, exactly what we want from our relationships.”
Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Scriptoeris and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, when not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.