Something amazing just happened to you. You got a new dog. You’re getting married. You found a new job. A new home. Who are you going to call to let them know the good news? When something devastating happens to you like an illness, a death, a breakup, a job loss, or simply depression, would you call those same people in your life?
Back in the day, we used to be able to “phone a friend.” It was easier to talk on the phone for hours about a “new anything” or “tragic something.” Times are moving much quicker and now with social media, we tend only to broadcast the things we are excited about and not the rough patches in our life. Sometimes we even hide them. We don’t make time for hour-long talks or long letters, and because of this, it is a challenge to create a long- term connection in 140 characters or on a Snapchat photo.
Research has shown that we all have our unique happiness baselines. Some of us have a higher set point than others. But the more profound news is that we can all increase our happiness levels with awareness and effort. The biggest indicator of happiness is your support system, your lifeline. A strong social support can give you a longer and a healthier life. It can also help harvest more resilience to your life’s challenges and create the experience more happiness.
Where do you go when the big life events take over, and you feel like you are at the end of your rope and are drowning? How long and strong is your lifeline, your support system? If you don’t feel you have anyone to connect with or who would help you, here’s how you can begin at any time to build your support.
- Align Your Bloodline
If you don’t have a large group of friends, don’t despair. Start where you were born. If you have a pretty good relationship with your family, create a strong one in these ways.
-Remind them how much they mean to you.
-Reach out to them when you don’t need anything. Ask what is going on in their lives. Support them in all their successes and trouble times.
-If you do need help and they offer it, take it.
-When conversations get sticky or difficult as they sometimes do with families, give each other space and always let them know you are there for them.
* A disclaimer: If you come from a toxic family or have a toxic family member, your intuition or your gut will let you know whether you should engage with this group or person. Make sure to listen. If it feels like a “no,” then don’t go any further.
- Intertwine Your Baseline
As you continue to strengthen your family base, the next step is to build up your friend lifelines. Think about the most memorable shared times in your life that you may have labeled as good and bad. Remember those people who celebrated with you and contributed to your success and those who were with you at your lowest moments. Have you seen or spent time with these people? If the answer is no, reach out and connect. Yes, you can approach them on social media but take it a step further to meet face to face. The effort will show up in a powerful connection. If you can’t meet face to face due to distance, then take it back 1980’s style and pick up the phone and call, not text. You will create a stronger connection through hearing each other’s voices. And if a friend that you haven’t heard from pop’s in your mind, call them. It is the Universe and your intuition trying to nudge you to connect. Don’t ignore.
- Combine the Divine and the Feline
Maybe you are an only child. Maybe you don’t have much of a family. Perhaps it’s a challenge for you to make friends in real life much less social media. Don’t despair; lifelines come in all shapes and sizes. Wherever you come from a spiritual sense, take the time to create a stronger connection. It doesn’t mean to spend hours at church or temple; it just means taking time out of your day and your life to appreciate your connection with the Universe. Ironically enough, I have many clients that are atheists and for them, they find a connection with nature. We all find some type of connection with nature. So, if you feel like you don’t have any place or someone to turn to, then step outside. Feel the air. Walk on the ground without shoes to connect to the Earth and experience pure ground. Hang out at least 15 minutes and become mindful of how you feel after you have been outside. You will feel a shift towards calmness. And then do it again the next day.
Combine your lifeline with cats or dogs or horses or fish. Whatever pet you have, make time for them. Most pets love us unconditionally based on how we treat them. Understand that they need you to survive and thrive and then remember how much joy they bring to you in their way. If you don’t have any pets, hang out with a friend that does, or spend time at a shelter. They always need help to strengthen the emotional lifelines of our most vulnerable furry friends.
- Consistently Give Back to Your Lifeline Goldmine.
You connect with your family. You reach out to friends. You spend time with your spiritual Universe or nature. You hang out with pets. Now, what? You keep doing it every day for the rest of your life. You give what you need and in return, hope will always be there when need it. It will be there when you run out.
I have a friend named Mac who is a web developer. Mac speaks in code. His conversations are in emails, texts, and more code. Recently, he found out that a co-worker who lives in another state has liver failure and is in hospice. His friend is divorced and only in his 40’s and has a young daughter.
In high-stress work situations, these two bonded and became close friends. And though they don’t usually talk on the phone and live on different coasts, they text. Right now, these texts are the most important electronic lifelines ever created. These texts speak of happier times, and of gratitude for each other. And soon, these texts will be a heartfelt narrative for his young daughter to have as a testament to her father’s kindness, friendship, and support to others.
Today, don’t give up hope. Begin to build it. Strengthen it. By doing so, not only will you live a healthier, longer life, but you just might be the strongest lifeline in someone else’s lifetime. Life is amazing. Hang on to it with love. Namaste.