As many of you might know by now, I have a 10-month-old baby at home. But what you might not know is that I’m a sucker for those “how to raise your baby” books. In short, you could say I'm obsessed. With a background in psychology--and in mental health in particular--I’ll never cease to be fascinated by how the brain works, by how we develop, and by the ways in which we relate to one another.
While reading one such book the other day (Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina--a captivating read, I might add), I came across something that struck me to the core. You see, too often I see students shuffle in and out of my office, weary from countless hours of homework coupled with unrelenting dedication to sports and extracurricular activities. I’m saddened when these students relay to me that they don’t have time for relationships—don’t have an extra minute for some QT with their closest friends and loving family members. At the same time, parents lament that they just want their kid to be happy.
So that’s why I want both students and parents alike to heed this: the key to happiness. Yep, I have it right here. In one of the longest running studies of its kind, researchers found that it’s not success, it’s not a good job or lots of money, or getting into a “good” college that makes us happy. Nope—rather the empirical evidence indicates that what makes us happy is our relationships. That’s right, folks. It is our sometimes messy, always interesting relationships (or lack thereof) that’s the single best predictor of our happiness. So I say take that extra time out of your day to call your best friend or grab a frozen yogurt with your sister because, when it’s all said and done, that’s the most important way we can spend our time.