Everyone one in a relationship should still be dating.
Did you know March 20th is the International Day of Happiness? It was founded in June 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly and was first celebrated on March 20th 2013. The theme for 2019 was ‘Happier Together’ which promoted the aim of ‘Share Happiness and be Part of Something Amazing.’ So, what is happiness?
Robert Waldinger is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. In the 1930s, Harvard University began the longest recorded study into human happiness. They invited 19-year-old sophomores from Harvard and teenagers from the poorest neighbourhoods of Boston, to take part. For over 75 years they conducted interviews and medical tests checking up on their subjects every two years to see how they were doing. Waldinger is the fourth director of the study.
What the research found about happiness surprised them. Waldinger says that while many young people tend to think that fame, fortune, and hard work will bring them happiness, it’s actually our social connections that are most important for our well being.
‘The Ten Keys to Happier Living‘ by Vanessa King expresses similar opinions. It’s a book based on a review of the latest research from psychology and related fields. Everyone’s path to happiness is different, but the evidence suggests these Ten Keys tend to have a positive impact on people’s happiness and well-being. The first five keys (GREAT being Giving, Relating, Exercising, Awareness and Trying out) are about how we interact with the outside world in our daily activities. The second five keys (DREAM being Directions, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance and Meaning) come from inside us and depend on our attitude to life. It makes interesting reading.
Being happy is not a human right, it has to be worked at. Science has proved that being happy requires a conscious effort. ‘It’s not easy, it takes time,’ says Laurie Santos, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University.
Professor Santos’s class ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ has proved to be the most popular course in Yale’s 317-year history and broke the university’s enrolment record when more than 1,200 students signed up. According to Professor Santos, there’s growing research that shows enjoying quality time with your friends and family makes you happier. Spending time with people we like can significantly boost our wellbeing. It doesn’t take much she says, just make sure you live in the moment, be aware you are having this time together and be conscious of how you spend your time. The concept of time is very important to happiness. Like Waldinger, she believes we often associate wealth with how much money we have but research shows that wealth is more closely tied to how much time we have.
People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. It’s the close relationships with family and friends which provides love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and create new experiences is essential for happiness. Trying new things together makes memories – making memories creates a positive environment for developing trust and love of life.
Clearly, it’s a personal thing. What makes one person happy could be an anathema to someone else. We can probably all relate to studies showing that money, success and possessions are secondary factors in making us happy. Yet, while it’s a recognised truism that money doesn’t buy happiness, it has been shown that money can buy experiences (like holidays, music concerts, nights out), which in turn can promote happiness. Interestingly, it has been shown that it is not just the experiences themselves that promote happiness, but the fact that they are better if they’re shared. All of which contributes to the idea that Date Nights can be a significant tool in creating happiness.
But while money can be helpful to plan experiences, you don’t have to spend money or even leave the house to connect with your loved one. By doing something new together, such as taking a long walk , it’s possible to have time and space to reconnect. Date nights are a popular concept which advocate that spending time together in a planned activity, whether it’s in the house or out and about, can strengthen bonds and build positive well being. Time being of the essence, it’s important to plan these activities…and treasure them.
Go on, take a look at our Year of Dates and hopefully you will see how they can help you with inspiration and variation in deciding what dates you should do each week, helping you make happy memories together.