The Greatest Predictor of Long-Term Happiness

The Greatest Predictor of Long-Term Happiness

The Greatest Predictor of Long-Term Happiness

The last 2 years have been interesting, to say the least. We were forced to change our routines, habits, how we live, and how we work. It has also been a time of reflection, re-prioritizing, and revisioning what we want our lives to look like.

Jay and I loved our RV hobby so much, we decided to buy a little piece of land in the country, and no one has been more surprised at how much I love it than me! It has also taught me things about myself that I never knew.

While I have always considered myself an extrovert, getting energy from those around me, the pandemic forced us to shift many of our social habits. Rather than the social outings I had become accustomed to, I found myself getting more and more comfortable in my cocoon. I have started to really enjoy my life as an introvert, to the point where lately, I have found myself retreating from social situations.

If you have found yourself isolating, it is important to remember that our relationships play a huge role in our ability to stay resilient. They buffer us against our most difficult and challenging times, providing the deep connection human beings fundamentally need. Our social connections have been found to be the greatest predictor of how long we will live (more than smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity), and the greatest determinant of our long-term happiness:

Our connections shape the way we see the world. Harvard researcher Shawn Achor found that if you were to look at a hill by yourself, you would believe it’s 10-20% steeper than looking at a hill of the same height while standing next to someone who would climb the hill with you. Social connection changes what your brain sees. 

Social connection improves overall wellbeing. When you have a pro-social mindset (when you’re focused on doing things to help others), research shows you are kinder, have more energy, and have an increase in motivation, productivity, and creativity. If you are an introvert (or have found yourself becoming one) this doesn’t mean you have to constantly socialize or be the life of the party, but it is important to connect with others. The quality of our relationships is much more important than the quality. The happiness boost you get from connection with others is crucial to your health and well-being and a key element to building resilience.

Not only does connecting with others give us a sense of belonging, it lowers anxiety and depression, helps us regulate our emotions, leads to higher levels of empathy, and even improves our immune systems. 

If you have found yourself retreating into a cocoon, don’t forget to connect with friends, family, and colleagues. Your health and happiness depends on it.

Stay brave and resilient,


P.S.What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about yourself since the beginning of the pandemic?

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Anne breaks down the daily habits and skills needed to grow and cultivate RESILIENCE.

Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...


Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.

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