Just last week I was lucky enough to take a trip with my family to the beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii. Hawaii is great and all, but the best part about the trip wasn’t the destination. It was getting to spend a week’s worth of uninterrupted time with my family. With my two siblings and I at completely different stages of life (middle school, college, and in the real-world, respectively) we are scattered across the US and don’t get as many opportunities to enjoy each other’s company anymore.
While many believe that success, wealth and material possessions are crucial keys to happiness, new research says that is not the case. Over 95% of parents believe that quality family time trumps even the most coveted material luxuries. Strengthening family bonds can lead to increased levels of happiness and overall satisfaction with your state of being. Keep in mind, your quality family time doesn’t have to be a week long vacation. Anything that connects you to your family, like a weekly meal together, a phone call, or even a Skype session, can help boost your happiness.
What’s more, you don’t have to be blood-related family to reap these happiness benefits. A bond between friends can be just as strong as a family bond. Personally, I have two friends in my life that I have known for years and feel so comfortable around that I consider them the sisters I never had. Don’t forget pets too! Many of us consider our pets to be members of our family and as our previous posts have pointed out, pets can dramatically increase our everyday happiness.
Whatever your family situation: only child, one of 12 kids, single parent household, living with pets, or living with other relatives, appreciate it and take advantage of those human (or animal!) connections. Really take the time to realize just how lucky you are to have those bonds.