How to turn your inbox from a threat into a source of renewal

Filed in Science by on September 10, 2014 0 Comments

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Sound psychological advice here from Eric Barker about how to use email to cultivate friendships and even to find a little bit of happiness each morning:

On the subject of happiness:

Every morning send a friend, family member or co-worker an email to say thanks for something.

Might sound silly but it’s actually excellent advice on how to make your life better.

There’s tons and tons and tons of research showing that over time, this alone – one silly email a day – can make you happier.

Via Harvard professor Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage:

This is why I often ask managers to write an e-mail of praise or thanks to a friend, family member, or colleague each morning before they start their day’s work—not just because it contributes to their own happiness, but because it very literally cements a relationship.

(More on increasing happiness here.)

On friendship:

Email a good friend and make plans.

What does research say keeps friendships alive? Staying in touch every 2 weeks.

Got 14 friends? Then you need to be emailing somebody every day.

And what should you email them about? Make plans to get together.

Research shows the best use of electronic communication is to facilitate face-to-face interaction:

The results were unequivocal. “The greater the proportion of face-to-face interactions, the less lonely you are,” he says. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are.” Surely, I suggest to Cacioppo, this means that Facebook and the like inevitably make people lonelier. He disagrees.Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on its user. “If you use Facebook to increase face-to-face contact,” he says, “it increases social capital.” So if social media let you organize a game of football among your friends, that’s healthy. If you turn to social media instead of playing football, however, that’s unhealthy.

(More on improving friendships here.)

And see the whole article here.

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Fr Jerome Santamaria

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Fr Jerome Santamaria is a priest of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia.

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