08 August 2016 by Derrick Hull
It’s no surprise to anyone these days that the relationships we have with the people around us are not just meaningful but important to our well-being and health.
Research is increasingly identifying ways to engage with these relationships that serve others and ourselves better.
One technique involves thinking of 3 recent situations in which you had an interaction with someone else. It’s best to try to think of situations involving 3 different people, rather than 3 situations with the same person, but if that’s not possible, any 3 situations will do. And you don\‘t have to know the person really well to use the situation.
Now as you reflect back on the situations ask yourself:
1) How close did I feel to the person I was with?
2) Why did I feel the degree of closeness that I did?
These are very simple questions, but they have been shown to encourage greater relational satisfaction, a greater sense of connectedness, and they even appear to improve immune function and other kinds of physical and psychological well-being outcomes.
Note that you don’t have to lie to yourself to experience these benefits. In other words, your answers don’t have to be:
1) I felt very close, well understood and perfectly happy to completely be with that person.
2) I felt so close because I’m such a good person who is always in such a good mood.
Instead, simply do the exercise honestly and openly once a day at least, and everything else will take care of itself.