The connection between trust and happiness

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Trust happens when two or more people in a relationship believe each another to be honest and look out for the best interests of the relationship and each other. Matt Ackerson

We’ve all experienced it before: once bitten, it’s easy to be twice shy the next time around. With time and patience, we eventually will trust again. Why? Because everyone wants to trust – even the most sceptical among us. “The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him,” Henry Stimson said. The question is: why does trust enhance our level of wellbeing?

In general, trusting people are happier than mistrusting, suspicious people. According to Eric Weiner, who wrote The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiness Places in the World, “Trust is a prerequisite for happiness. Several studies have found that trust – more than income or even health – is the biggest factor in determining our happiness”. It’s not just about trusting people but also the feeling of being trusted that contributes to our happiness.

Paul Zak, PhD, at Claremont University in California said their research reveals that the biological basis for social connections – a hormone called “oxytocin” – is part of the brain mechanisms that serve to make us happy.

Research presented at Neuroscience 2010, showed that women who show large increases in oxytocin when they are trusted also report being more satisfied with life, showed greater resilience to adverse events and were less depressed.

Oxytocin suppresses the activity of the brain that processes fear and communicates it to the rest of the brain (a region known as the amygdala). Natural ways to boost your oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) include: ingestion of food, sex, massage, cuddling, smiling and bonding. You can actually purchase it oxytocin a nasal spray as well – called Syntocinon.

There are several benefits of trusting that contributes to our overall happiness and state of wellbeing, including a decrease in anxiety levels. It also enables you to live in the moment – enjoying the people and situations surrounding you – for example, by trusting at work we are more productive because we are able to concentrate more on the task at hand. Trust – just like happiness – is a choice. Not saying that everything will work out because you trust, you will still experience disappointments, but they won’t seem as great.

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Happiness Weekly encourages readers to proactively work towards a successful, happy and secure existence. Just like happiness – Happiness Weekly is for everyone.

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