Accidentally Intentional

How To Have Happy Relationships (& Become Happier Yourself) in 2024 | 3 EASY Steps To Take!

February 01, 2024 Zoe Asher Season 3 Episode 2
Accidentally Intentional
How To Have Happy Relationships (& Become Happier Yourself) in 2024 | 3 EASY Steps To Take!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

You found this video because the thing you want most is to find happiness in your relationships, and also in your own life. And maybe that's because you are currently NOT happy. Or want to be happier. You're not alone. In fact...this is me too. Here's the good news. In this video, we are discussing the 3 key ingredients to becoming happier, and also the 4 necessary goals one needs to have in their pursuit of happiness - straight from the research and science of happiness directly! Let's go.

A lot of what was discussed in this episode is from the work and research of Dr. Arthur Brooks, the Harvard Happiness Professor who has spent decades of his life researching happiness, and also wrote the NYT Best-Selling book " From Strength To Strength" and now just recently co-authored a book with Oprah: "Build The Life You Want."

If you want to hear more from Dr. Arthur Brooks, I recommend his Diary Of A CEO podcast episode and his interview on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. 

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Remember, you're worth having and building relational wealth! The connection you’ve been looking for is on the way, and it all starts by being Accidentally Intentional.

Did you know we also have a YouTube channel?! It's true, just for all of you lovers of visual formats! For the video version of this episode, head to the Accidentally Intentional YouTube channel!

Join the conversation and follow along on Instagram! I respond to DM's! Let's converse! Say hi, or share your biggest takeaways! I'm all ears! @accidentallyintentional or @zoeasher


In this episode, we're gonna be talking about how to have happier relationships this year. So stay tuned, because here we go. Welcome to accidentally intentional where our goal is to destroy loneliness by building rich relationships. And in this video, we're talking about how to have happy relationships. Now, the reason that you've tuned in is probably because you are looking to find happiness in your life and in your relationships. And so I just want to start off by saying what this video is not going to be, this video is not for you, if you're looking for a video that will show you and tell you what everyone else around you needs to do in order to make you happy. I can't stand any more gurus who are out here pretending like their life is perfect, that they've found happiness. And if you just follow their six, seven steps, you're going to achieve it as well. So this video, isn't that. Because to be honest with you, I was not really happy this week at all. In fact, I found it ironic and I got really upset at myself for here I am wanting to teach people everything, I've been learning about happiness, and I can't even be happy. And then I realized that's exactly why I need to come on here. Because I am learning right alongside you. So what this episode is going to be is actually teaching you how you can pursue happiness in your own life. Everything that's in your control in your power, and as a result of the happiness that you are chasing, all of your relationships in your life are going to be happier as well. And so a lot of today's episode is going to be based on the research by Dr. Arthur Brooks, who is the Harvard happiness professor, he has been studying happiness for decades of his life. And I just started digging into his research. And I am blown away with all the I've been learning in my quest to also pursue happiness. And so the first thing we're going to break down in this video is what is happiness. And I was surprised to find that happiness is actually not a destination. We're doing it wrong, if we're thinking that happiness is something to be achieved. Which is interesting, right? Because you're probably watching this because you're thinking, I want to be happier, I want to be happy. But if you try and articulate what that means there's some direction in which you're going. And so happiness is actually not a destination moreso it's a direction. And another thing that I found really interesting in this happiness research that Arthur Brooks presents, is that happiness is actually not a feeling. I know, it's crazy. It's not a feeling. But it actually points to the fact that there is a feeling involved. And you may have heard this, it's called the emotion wheel, you can Google it, look it up. It has over 100 of the normal emotions in which we experience. And about half of those are 50 or so could actually point to happiness. But happy isn't a feeling itself, it means that there's other feelings involved, in which we are saying, make us happy as a result of those feelings puts us in the direction of feeling happier. And I just found that so fascinating. And it really started to make me understand that if we are hoping to just be happy, we're never going to get there because it's not a place to land. It's a continual pursuit in which we do. And so happiness as a pursuit involves three elements. And we're gonna break down those elements. The first one is enjoyment. The second element of happiness is satisfaction. And the third element of happiness is meaning. So if you think of it as an equation, happiness equals enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning altogether. So let's first talk about enjoyment. Right? How do we get to the place of enjoying life enjoying things? And the research really points to thinking through and answering the question, What is something you enjoy? But here's a really fascinating piece, which is really important to us. And this episode, because it states very clearly, in Arthur Brooks happiness research that I'll read you the direct quote, true enjoyment is not found in solitary pleasures. It requires social interaction, and the creation of memories to transform a city pleasure into a meaningful human experience. This process elevates enjoyment from a basic animalistic sensation to a complex human emotion involving the prefrontal cortex. Now I got super sciency at the end. But the thing that makes enjoyment elevated for humans, it actually brings meaning to us is when we are doing things that we enjoy with other humans, it takes it from just being a simple, that was fun, to a meaningful memory and experience that's made. Now that's pretty powerful. And that's really speaks to the importance of building rich relationships. Now, let's talk about satisfaction, which is the second element of happiness. Satisfaction is actually derived from overcoming struggles and obstacles. So when we are working out or something like that, and afterwards, we're thinking time, I feel good. These endorphins are kick in serotonin, you know, everything's working, you're feeling satisfaction, because you just overcame a certain struggle. And Arthur Brooks gives us an equation. He says, satisfaction is balancing what you have with what you want. That's a true satisfaction is balancing what you have with what you want. And it's easy for us to get trapped into what is called the arrival fallacy. And it's a common misconception where people believe that actually reaching a goal will bring that lasting satisfaction. When in doing so you're actually overlooking happiness of the journey, that it is in itself. And so those are the first two elements enjoyment and satisfaction need to be present in order for happiness to be there. But the third one, which is really important, is meaning. Now, this isn't just like, oh, this is meaningful to me. But Arthur Brooks actually suggests that you can find your meaning by asking two very hard questions. Here they are. Number one, why are you alive? What are you called to do? What is your purpose? That's question one. It's a big one, right? Obviously. And number two, from what are you willing to die for today, because of how much meaning and purpose that subject is for you. Whether that's an idea, country, people, I mean, it could be a myriad of things, meaning, is the most integral element of heading in the direction of happiness. There's a scientist Carl Jung, who believed that true happiness actually stems from living in accordance with one's beliefs, and morals. And if you think about that, it makes so much sense, right? Because when we live in alignment, this can be called another way, when you are living out what you truly believe to be true in this world, then you find so much more purpose in all of that. And at the same time, when you see someone or yourself living in misalignment, saying, meaning that you say one thing and do another, you're living in misalignment, it feels gross, because you know, that's not who you want to be, or who you want anybody else to be, either. So now that we've discussed the elements of happiness, again, which was enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning, we're going to talk about the four primary goals that significantly contribute to someone's happiness and being put in the direction of happiness. Okay, pretty simple. Here are the four faith, family, friendship, and work, meaningful work, where you're contributing in some way to society. And going back to the faith thing, you might be saying, well, I'm out because faith isn't important to me. The faith really comes for believing either in a higher power, or believing that this world is just bigger than you and me. So those four focusing on goals in those four departments put you on track automatically to being a happier person. Now, this is good news. Because if you're thinking, hey, well, I actually have a goal to make more friends this year, which is one of the things we love doing on the show. Then guess what you are moving closer in the direction towards Happiness, maybe you're saying, I just want to do something that brings joy to other people or that fulfills other people, that helps other people guess what? That puts you in the direction just chasing that puts you in the direction, moving towards happiness. And of course, faith, hey, I have faith goals, whatever your faith is, that could be one, I have family goals, maybe it's getting closer with my family. Maybe it's starting a family, these goals that you have put you in the direction towards happiness, just by having goals in these four categories. I think that's amazing. Okay, so we went through the three ingredients and elements which comprise the direction of happiness. And then we talked about the four camps of goals in which also puts you in the direction towards happiness. So let's talk about the bummers. Now, right? Let's talk about happiness killers, because there's a couple out there. And this is a direct quote, from Dr. Arthur Brooks, he said the most significant threat to relationships is the attempt to change another person to be like oneself. What if I don't know about you, but that hit me pretty hard, because I think that's a normal temptation is wanting other people to act like us think like us, believe like us behave like us, and so on, and so forth. Because it seems like it would be so much better and so much easier, if that was the case. But that is actually the most significant threat to relationships, let alone happy relationships. And that's why at the beginning of the episode, I said, I'm not going to be talking about anything, which is dependent upon someone else, because in this, we're just focusing on what you and I can do and what's in our power. So happiness killer number one is attempting to change someone else. Happiness killer. Number two, is assumptions. I'm so guilty of this, I truly am. I'm so guilty of it. I'm a chronic, over thinker, and I just make up these stories as to what someone's doing or thinking. And it's nuts and 95% of the time, they're not true. They're just made up in my head. And that's 100%, a happiness killer, because it's not backed by data. It's just by fleeting feelings, and assumptions, put a wedge between you and another person, which then brings me to number three, and that's expectations. And expectations are believing that it's someone else's job, for instance, to make you happy, is definitely not fair to have those expectations, put upon somebody else, because nobody else can make you happy. As we're learning, in this episode, we have the control, and we have the ability to do it for ourselves. And the reason expectations are happiness killer is because there's a lot of unmet expectations that you then have sitting inside of you ready to just explode and burst out under somebody else, because you didn't actually articulate what it is that you wanted, or needed. And so unmet expectations. And unsaid expectations are definitely happiness killer, number three. And it's a good rule of thumb to not have any expectations for anybody else. Except for if you have articulated and asked for a certain thing, then that's a different conversation. And I think fear is something that we often think about as the opposite of happiness, right? How can you be happy? If you're afraid that kind of overrides the brain as it's trying to protect us if we're actually living in fear, and so I kind of want to talk about strategies for overcoming fear and anxiety. And these are two that I have found helpful in my own life. Both of these strategies actually involve journaling. Now, you might be like, I hate writing. I only type Okay, only type, that's fine. There is science behind the power of writing something down and writing all the letters. I don't know. I'm just saying My recommendation would be to write it out. But you're definitely allowed to type Okay, moving on. So, to manage fear, you can write down your fears. That's, that's the first step. Write it down. Now this is kind of backwards for people that are in the Can't have don't write it down, because you might manifest it. Well, science actually says otherwise in this department. And I'll explain how first step is to write down your fear. Why? Because when you're writing it down, you're putting distance in a space and a gap between you. And that fear. And it allows you to observe the fear, kind of from a different perspective. And then there's four questions that you want to write down and think about the answers to, after you've written down that fear. Number one, what am I afraid of? Truly write it down to why is this happening? Three? What is the worst thing that can happen? And four? What will I do? If it happens? Now, by the time you get to three and four, most of the time, I've found just how preposterous these fears were, that I was just creating crazy scenarios, in which I was like, What will I do if it happened? Well, wait, the chances of that happening actually, are so very low. And I'm just hinging it on the fact that that 5% chance is actually 100. And what will I do? Well, at the end of the day, I'm going to get through it is what I'm going to do. And so it's been a really interesting exercise to put that gap between the fear and then analyze it, and try and come to a different conclusion about how I see it. So what's really interesting about this is that this process helps move the fear in your brain, it literally moves the fear in your brain from the amygdala. And I'm not a brain scientist, so don't ask me. But I think it's interesting that it shifts it okay, it moves it from the amygdala, which is responsible for emotional reactions to the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision making. So we just moved it from Crazy Town emotional reactions to logical thinking, just by writing it down no day. That is a powerful exercise that can change your day, that can change how you pursue happiness that day, when you write down the fear that might be holding you back from getting there. You know, I mentioned assumptions being a happiness killer. You can also do a twist on this journaling exercise with assumptions. I like to call it assumption journaling. And Dr. John Maloney, who's been a guest on the show, has talked about this before, because the what'd you do in this is once you have an assumption, now, it's takes a lot of work to get to this point, but it's worth it. of identifying Oh, wait, this is true. This is just an assumption I'm making right the assumption down. And then think, Wait, is this true? If you cannot, objectively with data, confirm that it is true, then you have to automatically rewrite it? Let me give you an example. This friend hates me. Wait, is that true? No, she just didn't respond to my message. But she might be busy right now, she doesn't hate me, she really cares about me. She just has another priority right? Now. That's a good way to reframe it. Another thing that helps with assumption journaling is gratitudes that always helps the brain reframe into what is true, what is important, what you can control, and what is in front of you. And I love this quote that I continue to keep hearing is that and it's you can't be grateful and anxious at the same time. So gratitudes are definitely helpful for anxiety, and any fears that you have. Okay, so we talked about the happiness killers, what are some instant ways to boost happiness, one, engage in volunteer work, it is so effective in giving almost a boost of happiness and putting you in that happy direction, because you get to serve others. Which brings us back to meaning right? Generosity. This is a crazy study. in financial terms, they have found that people who give statistically make more money the next year. That's a great investment strategy. Just be more generous. Now it sounds like it would be the exact opposite. But I promise you, it's not because when you learn to live openhanded My goodness, does the world just become more brighter, and more beautiful. In fact, there's this ancient proverb I love that says the world of the generous gets larger and larger, and that's something I've been trying to live By and it has been so helpful in helping me reframe, and get back to the posture of happiness. Another happiness booster is being an agent of positive change, standing up taking action on a cause or something that you care about. It reinforces your identity of sorts. James clear in the book, atomic habits talks about the power that comes from a habit when you decide to, quote, cast a vote for yourself, for instance, do something that empowers you, as an agent of change? How can I be an agent of change in my own life today? Okay, what relationship do I want to pursue? Okay, I'm going to reach out to somebody I care about today. And tell them how much they mean to me. Why? Because casting a vote for yourself is saying, I'm a friend that cares about other people. I'm a friend that reaches out and makes effort to connect. And in closing, let me tell you something crazy, direct quote from Dr. Arthur Brooks again, I love this guy. I love his work. I hope to have him on the podcast, just just a quick shout out to him. positivity and happiness are emotional contagions. Their mind viruses, it's true. You know, I know it's true. Because I've been in a workplace before, maybe you can relate where somebody is just so negative. And you realize that minutes are ticking by you just are clawing your way to get out of being in their presence, because you realize your energy starts to drain out of you, the longer that you're with this negative person, and oppositely when someone comes up to you smiling, happy, wanting to make jokes, for instance, wanting to have a meaningful conversation, you actually feel that it's really life giving. Because it's a quote, mind virus. And it's an emotional contagion. So this is why I said at the very beginning of the episode, that when you pursue happiness, all of your relationships around you are going to get happier as well, is because you have the power to give that mind virus of happiness to other people. That's amazingly powerful. I love that. And it makes me rethink the word infected. Who can I infect with happiness this week? Why don't we make that our challenge? Who can I infect with happiness this week. And one other thing to mention about happiness that I found very important, and eye opening is that it's better to be compassionate than empathetic. When it comes to happiness. Whoa, whoa, whoa, we're in a culture where we just celebrate, and champion empathy. Does that mean empathy is bad? Is that what you're saying? So no, that's not what I'm saying. But what I am saying is that compassion can have more power between the two. In a situation. Let me explain this a little bit. Okay. So empathy, we know is putting yourself in someone else's shoes, wearing their pain, wearing their emotion, which can effectively tend to weigh you down. But compassion is actually sitting with them in it. But recognizing that it is not what you are experiencing, and that your experience is different from theirs, and being able to acknowledge the difference. Compassion is still there for someone through whatever they're going through. But it's not making the pain that they're experiencing, also your own pain. And that's a really important distinction when trying to pursue happiness. Because when you're wearing someone else's pain, it might feel like you're trapped, and that you can't get out from feeling the negativity or, or feeling hopeless, because it's not your situation that you can actually change or impact whereas pursuing happiness in your own life is, so this was really a deep dive on happiness, how to have happier relationships as a result of pursuing happiness. And if you liked this episode, please follow along. Like, subscribe. Seriously, subscribing really helps leaving reviews helps even more. If you liked this video, you're definitely gonna like this one up here, because we're talking about the power of asking better questions, how to ask better questions, and so much more. We have so many Exciting episodes this season such as how to be less awkward in conversations how to have long distance friendships and more It's all right here we dropped every other week guys I love you let's pursue some happiness This week I'll see you next time

what actually is happiness?
the 3 keys to happiness (the ingredients)
the 4 essential goals you need to have to pursue happiness
the happiness killers
strategies to overcome the happiness killers ( + fear and anxiety)
actions that are instant happiness boosters