Do you have a personal Mission Statement?
It is to learn, to grow, to share, and inspire.
I want to learn as much as I can about living a good life and grow from that knowledge. I also want to learn how to grow through the pain and suffering that happens in life. Then I want to share what I have learned with others and inspire them to step into fully living this ONE life that each of us has been given. That’s why I lovingly refer to myself as an INSPIRATIONISTA.
So you must be wondering, why am I telling you this?
Because I have enrolled in a HarvardX class this summer called “Managing Happiness” and OH MY GOSH, what I am learning is mind blowing and heart exploding!!
I have learned so much that I just cannot keep it all to myself. I HAVE to share what I am learning because this information is so important that I believe it can not only change my life, and your life, but if enough of us practice these techniques, it can truly help change the world!
I AM NOT KIDDING!
There is so much I am learning and want to share, but here is where I want to begin, with a lesson in LOVE and its relationship to happiness, and how a simple molecule can make all the difference between feeling loved or feeling lonely.
Loneliness is an overarching factor to people’s unhappiness.
A lot of loneliness set in during the pandemic, and a lot of people are still silently suffering, feeling alone, isolated and sad.
Much of the work I do is helping people “graduate” from the pain and suffering of loss, and guiding them to living happier, more fulfilling lives.
So it only makes sense that the more I learn and share, the more I can help ease the suffering of others and provide them with tools to increase their happiness and well-being.
So let’s get back to LOVE and the molecule it produces called oxytocin.
Love is an integral part of happiness (there are also many others in which I will be sharing at a later date) but if we lack the molecule oxytocin, it can lead to us feeling unloved and lonely.
Lonely people are rarely happy and loneliness also puts great strain on our immune system. Which in a nutshell means unhappy people get sicker faster.
So the question is, what can we do to increase our oxytocin levels, so we can feel better connected to others, and thus feel happier and healthier?
According to researcher Paul Zak, oxytocin levels increase if we see it as a gift we have to give to other people. Yes, the only way we can increase our own oxytocin levels is by giving it away.
How do we do that?
Zak says there are actually 3 hacks we can use that will increase our oxytocin levels
Reach out and help others
Volunteer or do something of service for others. Almost always those people you help will show some sort of appreciation whether it’s a smile or a thank you that will release oxytocin in you.
Go out in public
Get out where other people are gathering. It can be a coffee shop, bar or church service. You don’t have to establish lifelong relationships with others, just exchanging a few kind words with others can increase your oxytocin levels.
Get a pet
Relationships with pets are great generators of oxytocin. Dogs in particular are oxytocin producers. and here is an added bonus: Walking your dog helps with social interaction and makes it so much easier to talk to people. (another oxytocin producer)
In order to feel less lonely you have to increase oxytocin and you’ll be hard pressed to generate it on your own.
WE NEED OTHERS, but the catch is, no one can do it for us.
The key to living a less lonely life is to get out there and engage in life.
We can no longer wait for life or others to come to us.
Even people who are homebound can find ways to reach out to others.
Social media, phone calls, even writing notes and letters can help us all feel better connected and less lonely.
And if someone is genuinely making an effort to be kind, courteous, or helpful to us, remember a smile, a thank you, or some small offering of appreciation increases oxytocin levels for the both of you.
Think of it this way: You can either be a fountain or a drain.
Fountains help increase happiness, connection, and feeling good. Drains lead to feelings of disconnection and loneliness.
The choice is yours.. which will you be, a fountain or a drain?