Ten Keys to Happier Living – 2. Relating

Connecting with others is one of our basic human needs. Action for Happiness claim that

‘When we’re together, everything is better’.


How does relating to others make you happier?


Having close relationships with family and friends contributes to our feelings of self-worth and having broader networks contributes to our feelings of belonging.

Don’t hold grudges, you only hurt yourself


If we learn to be more forgiving and let go of the grudges we hold we will improve our happiness! When we hold a grudge we are only hurting ourselves emotionally by holding onto the emotional pain. This emotional pain will keep finding its way out as an emotional outburst when you least expect it and probably towards someone you do not have the grudge with. We can often misplace our anger onto other people or onto objects.

What is the key to sustaining close relationships?


There are many factors that contribute to happy, healthy and close relationships with family and friends. I would say the most important is, connection, find time to connect and fully understand others. Share and confide with them, the more you show your vulnerabilities the more they will show theirs and this deepens the relationship. Two words come to mind, honest and loyalty.


How to foster greater relationships with work colleagues


We are likely to spend more time with our work colleagues than we do with our family and friends, so the relationships we have at work are just as important! Here are our top 5 tips to help improve your relations with work colleagues:

  1. Stay above the line and be open and honest – if you have made a mistake, admit it and focus on what you will do to rectify it as opposed to justifying why or blaming others. Owning up to your own faults / mistakes shows character strength not weakness.
  2. Don’t be afraid to start a difficult conversation with a colleague, if a colleague has been off work due to mental ill health be confident in starting a conversation about it. It is ok to talk and you can’t go wrong with being human and showing you care.
  3. Send a message / email to show you are thinking of a colleague who is off work due to illness, this can help them feel less guilty, a sense of belonging and welcomed on their return.
  4. Share your own struggles with stress – admitting your work stress can be overwhelming is the start of reducing your stress and will help others open up too. Being stressed doesn’t imply hard work and there is no award for the most stressed colleague, try and stop competing for it.
  5. Separate the facts and the opinions – we are all good at ‘mind reading’, we often assume what others are thinking and these thoughts can feel factual which influences our behaviour towards others. Try to stick to the facts and ask more questions rather than assume.


Tracey Dangerfield

Lead Mental Health Trainer

Be Empowered


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MHFA in the workplace