Dating Den Episode 150 – With Dr. Tim Bono: How Cultivating Happiness Can Help You Create Connection and Chemistry Even if Dating Feels Hard
What makes some people happy? It’s not money or fame, it’s the quality of the relationships a person has with other people. To find out how we can make dating and relationships easier to navigate and how we can create lasting change in our lives, Positive Psychologist, Researcher, and Author, Dr. Tim Bono joins Marni to discuss his book, Happiness 101: Simple Steps to Smart Living & Well-being.
Key takeaways from this episode:
Shared traits of happy people
- What determines if a relationship will work
- How to channel your emotions into changed behaviors
- How to proactively build wellness
- Putting new behaviors into practice
Positive Psychology Studies How to Build Happiness [2:01]
Positive Psychology goes beyond the traditional psychology practice of treating disease, anxiety, and depression and works to create behaviors and mindsets to proactively build happiness in our lives.
Dr. Tim says ‘we thought the brain couldn’t be changed after the age of 20-25 but in the 90s breakthroughs in science showed us that the brain can and does change over our entire lives.’ This means practicing intentional behaviors will cause the brain to rewire and restructure itself.
Studies show that one of the strongest predictors of happiness is the relationships we have with other people. Many people pursue relationships because they believe it will fix their unhappiness but it’s not when we find a partner we will become happy it’s when we become happier we will attract a partner to us.
But, what small changes we can incorporate into our lives to build happiness? Dr. Tim says not to treat happiness as a destination. Making small practices over time accumulate real changes in your brain.
The most important characteristic that predicts whether a relationship has what it takes to last for the long haul is how a couple navigates conflict.
Studying the happiest people and happiest relationships show the happiest people are not happy all the time. They approach life and relationships with the understanding that to have success in life and relationships is that these things are hard. They are able to cope with conflict and deal with it head-on.
The Pitfalls of Social Media [18:58]
Do you find yourself scrolling until your hands hurt? It’s because social media capitalizes are our natural tendency to want to be liked by others. It releases dopamine into the brain much like an addiction. It offers a short term burst of gratification but it doesn’t build long-term happiness.
Happiness requires authentic connections with real people. We are replacing real authentic connections with real people with superficial ones. It doesn’t promote well-being.
Close your browser and do something else that can actually build happiness.
Ladies, your dream guy is not going to come knock on your door. If you start by doing things that make you happy you will start attracting people to you. One very important component of positive psychology is self-discipline and emotional regulation. It’s about building the psychological capacity to acknowledge temptations when they come up. Then saying no, that is not good for me right now I am going to do the behavior that is better for me.
Change Your Behavior in Dating [31:00]
The most effective way to change behavior is to observe it, write it down, and get an accountability partner for nonjudgmental support. If you are facing stress don’t allow it to stay in your mind. Emotions can lead to vicious thinking cycles and get blown out of proportion. The act of translating emotion into language is one of the most effective ways to gain a realistic perspective of it.
Studies show taking just 15 minutes to write down your stressors from the day engages the regions of the brain that are responsible for logic and analysis. It allows us to extract meaning and learn something from how we are feeling.
Ask yourself what can I learn from this?
In dating, people who admit their vulnerabilities, flaws, and insecurities are more approachable and leave the door open for people to find common ground and build a relationship with.
You don’t want to say ‘here are all the things that are wrong with me on a first date’ but you want to be relatable.
Make a Connection:
“Happiness can be changed as a result of our behaviors.”
“Close the browser and do something else that can actually build happiness.”
“The most important characteristic that predicts whether a relationship has what it takes to last for the long haul is how a couple navigates conflict.”