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Guest Post: Interpersonal Wellness

by Guest Writer November 17, 2016

By Emily Rosenzweig 

As a society, we’ve made major strides towards prioritizing wellness. More people than ever before are eating healthfully (with the help of Green Pea Cookies!), doing yoga, exercising, and meditating. But as our culture places an increased focus on these internal aspects of wellness, let’s make sure we don’t overlook the interpersonal side of wellness! Connecting with other people is just as important for our overall health and happiness as anything we can do on our own.

Human beings are an ultra-social species, completely dependent on each other in order to survive and thrive. As a result, close relationships and social support are central to our well-being. In the same way that we need food and shelter and safety to thrive, we need attention, compassion, and encouragement – vital human resources we can only receive from other people.

Human connection is so important for our wellbeing that it directly impacts our physical health in a profound way. People with strong social support networks actually have stronger immune systems. And people who feel lonely, because they aren’t receiving enough support, are at greater risk for a wide range of health conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Receiving emotional support also buffers us against the many harmful effects of stress, in part by actually lowering our cortisol stress levels.

You can receive many of the benefits of genuine human connection not only by receiving support, but by giving it to others as well. Here are three easy communication techniques you can use to make sure you are giving the people in your life the support they need to be their happiest, healthiest selves. 

  1. Listen: Never underestimate the power of giving someone your full and undivided attention. Start by letting them know that you truly want to hear their story and how they are feeling, and then be sure to ask them questions to gain a deeper understanding and show that you're listening.
  2. Be compassionate: Most of the time, what people need is someone to acknowledge that what they’re are going through is difficult, and that their feelings are normal — not to point out the silver lining or tell them our problems aren’t that bad.
  3. Give encouragement, not advice: While many of us aren’t getting the social support we need, the same sure isn’t true for advice! You can help support the people around you by keeping your advice to yourself, and instead letting someone know that they already have all the skills and tools they need to succeed. Help someone find their strength, and reassure them that they are enough!

However throughout our lives, we all face times when we don’t have the emotional resources to give to others—when we need more support than we’re getting. At Happy (the app!), our goal is to make sure that at every stage of life, people get the support they need to be happy and healthy. Our app, launching this winter, will offer affordable, on-demand access to emotional support over the phone. We connect callers seeking attention, compassion, and encouragement with our growing community of Happy Givers — everyday people who have proven themselves to be exceptionally empathetic listeners. 

Emily Rosenzweig received her PhD in social psychology from Cornell University. She is interested in judgment and decision making and is the COO of "HAPPY THE APP", a new app launching next year! Did you know that Rissy & Fiona, both cofounders at Green Pea Cookie, will be "Happy Givers" at Happy the App!? We're stoked. Here's the gist of the product, from Emily:

"Even more than an app, what we’re really building is a community of people who find their own joy in helping others who are struggling. Showing care and compassion to others is deeply rewarding and personally meaningful – it is its own pathway to well-being. Check out our Instagram (www.instagram.com/happytheapp) to meet some incredible Happy Givers reflecting on times in their own life when they needed extra emotional support, and talking about why they are excited to give that support to others now! And we would love to hear from you—please reach out to us at happytheapp.io to tell us your story and how you make others happy!"




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