The Simplest Way To Stay Happy In 2023

The simplest way to stay happy in 2023 is to focus on cultivating strong and lasting social connections.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

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Let’s face it, It’s really hard to stay consistently happy. That’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for every type of emotion, but life has a way of throwing numerous curveballs that can easily take the wind out of your sails. And while there are numerous strategies you can leverage to keep yourself from succumbing to stifling feelings of sadness or depression (like taking up yoga or practicing guided meditation), one of the key ways of staying happy is to focus on cultivating a healthy social network. 

With the birth of 2023, there is no better time to start assessing your level of happiness and begin focusing on building stronger, more developed social bonds. An article from the New York Times explores multiple potential ways to accomplish just that. The New York Times developed a quiz tool to help give individuals a baseline summary of their social health and a place from which to start improving upon it. 

However, before diving headfirst into enhancing your social network as a means of staying happy this year, it’s important to understand the why behind the reason you should be. The Times references one poignant study that supports the importance of cultivating strong social bonds and how those bonds relate to how happy an individual is throughout their life. The 85-year-long Harvard Study Of Adult Development concluded that “Strong relationships are what make for a happy life.” 

So after assessing where your social health stands, it’s advisable to think about the relationships that really matter to you. Ask yourself probing questions like: Who are the people I want to surround myself with? What is it about these people that makes me want to be around them? Reach out to those people in your life and seek to develop relationships with people you meet who possess those same qualities. 

Additionally, ask yourself if there are certain people you have lost touch with that you wish you hadn’t. Perhaps there is an old college or work friend that you really miss having in your life. Why did you lose touch? Does the relationship need to be mended? Is it worth mending? 

If the answer is a resounding yes to all those questions, then take that first step. Extend an olive branch. Be honest and let that person know you miss them and that you truly did value their place in your life. If that connection can be rekindled, it will likely be stronger than when it first formed. 

Lastly, don’t discount your family members. They were there first, and they likely know you better than almost every other person in your life. It’s important to keep those bonds strong because those are the people that you will certainly be able to count on when life inevitably takes a difficult turn. 

To conclude, fostering healthy relationships are an integral component of staying happy in any given moment and leading a happy, full life. And, perhaps now, as the world continues to emerge from a prolonged post-pandemic malaise and a New Year has once again unveiled itself, there is no better time to focus back on the people and relationships that bring you joy.