If you took a survey of your friends, family and co-workers and asked them how they’re feeling, you’re likely going to get an overwhelming response of “blah, overwhelmed, tired and somewhat joyless.” That matches the 25% increase of anxiety and depression that the World Health Organization sent a global alarm about a year ago – which means, if you’re feeling this, you’re not alone.
How do we cope? We seek out articles, podcasts, buy another book maybe, something to help us figure out how to get better. While hearing someone share a personal story or a practical tool can spark a mental shift for the moment, that’s not the secret to our success.
The secret is in the people. The famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.” Years later, researchers found that what we think and how we feel is contagious. We are wired for human connection, because when we’re connected, we feel safe.
In the past, if you were in a tribe, you were protected, if you were kicked out of the tribe, you were someone’s lunch. So, connection is deeply rooted in our DNA and who we’re connected to shapes how we think, how we feel and what we do.
Once we realize that the secret to a more inspired life is in the people, we can begin to curate our social circles to give us a leg up on actually living and feeling better.
5 Ways to Curate Your Social Circle
At an early age we learn to adapt our personalities to the wants and needs of others, so we feel a sense of belonging. Eventually, that only makes us feel disconnected, confused, and ungrounded. Consider surrounding yourself with people who inspire feelings of calm, authenticity, kindness and confidence. Imagine what would be different in your life if these feelings became contagious.
We all have ideas and aspirations, but for most of us, we rarely follow through with them. At the same time, the research shows that when we follow through on plan and accomplish goals (even small ones), we feel better. To create some wind beneath your wings, make more contact with people who bring top of mind the energy of motivation, commitment and focus. Bring in people who are more determined and passionate about what they do. Talk with them about your ideas and aspirations, eventually, their energy will begin rubbing off on you too.
The number one mind trap that holds us back in self-doubt. Underneath self-doubt is fear. Our minds think of all the reasons we won’t succeed, comparing us to others who are more successful or why our goals will be too hard. We need to inspire more courage, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and trust that will set us up for learning and growth. As you’re considering who you’re contacting, ask yourself, “does this person inspire more courage in me?” If the answer is yes, keep that person in your orbit.
The entire endeavor to improve our health, relationships, or business can get way too serious. When it gets too serious our mind becomes rigid and not only does that kill the fun of it all, but it also breeds the opposite of happiness and success. If you’re wanting to make progress with something, it’s important to inspire a growth mindset where we understand that obstacles are inevitable and there’s value in experimentation, being curious, and feeling more flexible. When the people around us are overly serious it squashes creativity and possibility – and is a kill joy. If you want to be happier (and more successful), make more contact with others who inspire this playful mindset.
The Greeks showed us that there are two kinds of happiness – Eudaimonic and Hedonic. Eudaimonic is when we feel a sense of connection, meaning in life and purpose. Hedonic is simple pleasure. Science shows that living a primarily hedonic lifestyle is correlated with cellular inflammation, a biomarker that is not good for us. When we feel connected to something greater than ourselves, an organization, a mission or to the Universe or God, we tend to feel safer, more motivated and better. Surrounding ourselves with people who feeling a sense of meaning and purpose in their work or their personal lives, is a recipe for happiness and resilience.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD is a renowned mindfulness teacher, a clinical psychologist, author of numerous bestselling books, creator of the popular YouTube Channel, creating practical mental health videos to educate and inspire people. He is also the creator of the breakthrough “mental health accelerator” program, Uncover the Power Within. He lives in Los Angeles with his family. For more information visit www.elishagoldstein.com.