It’s no secret that open, healthy communication and time spent together are good ways to strengthen your relationship. Marriage and relationship experts like me also talk at great length about the importance of avoiding the build-up of resentment, allowing each other to be who you are, showing interest in each other’s worlds and more. Additionally, research has shown us a lot about what makes people happy individually. Why not incorporate some of these ideas into happiness activities you can engage in together?
Here are three things you can do together in your relationship to boost your happiness and stay positive:
- Accumulate memories, not things. Rather than collecting material items together, spend money on leisure activities or vacations. Experiences help create memories which can improve longer lasting satisfaction together. According to Elizabeth W. Dunn, PhD, in the forefront on research around consumption and happiness, “It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch’ is basically the idea.” See more in the article, But Will it Make You Happy in NYTimes.com.
- Do a challenging activity you’re both good at. Research shows that if you participate in an activity you feel some mastery over, more positive feelings can be generated. In the positive psychology concept of “flow,” proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, “the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.” Activities could include a sport, hobby or any pasttime.
- Volunteer. Find a local cause and give your time and energy together. Volunteering has been associated with increased positive emotions and overall sense of purpose.
There are so many ways people can get their “happy on,” individually or in their relationships. Often one impacts the other. Emotional and relationship health go hand in hand.