There are a lot of things that I do for my self-care on a regular basis, but this is by far my favorite. It not only lets me feel positive vibes all day long (or longer!), but it gives my friends a happiness boost too!
It's simple: just pick a friend (I usually go with someone I haven't talked to in a while) and send them a quick email or text. It should be upbeat and prompt them to respond. Make sure you're honest and feel free to be sappy if you mean it!
You can write anything you want, but I usually go with something like this:
"Hey, I was thinking about you today and just wanted to say hi! How are you?"
"Hey, I've been having a stressful couple of weeks and it got me thinking about that one time when we [Insert personal memory]. I'm so lucky to have a friend like you. I miss you! Tell me how you've been."
Here’s how you get a triple boost of sunshine:
1. You feel good when you make someone else feel good.
Wouldn't it feel great to wake up to an email like that in your inbox? Then chances are it will have the same effect on your friend. People love to know that someone else is thinking of them. It makes you feel great when someone reaches out to YOU and wants to hear from YOU. Your friends deserve that feeling. So, give to them!
And by making your friend feel good, you’ll probably feel a boost in your own self-esteem and happiness in return. You may have experienced this phenomenon while volunteering or doing your job caring for other people. And, science backs it up. Helping others makes us feel good!
2. You’ve got mail…and it’s wonderful!
Have you heard? We’re all addicted to receiving texts and notifications. It’s true and according to researchers, notifications are actually activating the pleasure centers in our brains. While I hate to see that we’re moving closer and closer to having our smartphones surgically attached to our hands, I see no problem with taking advantage of this knowledge for our own good.
Out of all of the people that I send emails like this to, 99% of them respond, usually within the day. And I get a wonderful rush seeing that someone has taken the time to email me back! Nothing wrong with that. Just remember, we’re looking to start a substantive one on one conversation with a friend, not to get sucked in a loop of seeking out social media likes.
If that weren’t enough, the emails I get are overwhelmingly positive, adding to the warm and fuzzies. Usually, the responses are grateful, warm and encouraging — just what I need!
3. Reconnect with Old Friends
The biggest benefit I have received from adding this to my weekly routine is in the strengthening of my relationships. When I go a long time without talking to a friends, my own anxiety and self-consciousness play tricks on me. They tell me, “that person probably doesn’t want to hear from you” or “they’ve got so many other people in their life, your relationship is probably not that important to them”. But this is almost always all in my head.
By setting an intention to email one friend you’ve lost touch with each week, you force yourself to overcome these anxieties and then you find the truth. “I’ve been wanting to email you too…” and “I’m so happy you emailed, I really need a friend right now” are both responses I’ve received. I’ve had others tell me that they were feeling the same anxieties or that they’ve been going through a rough period in their lives and that it made their day to hear from a friend.
Some of the people I emailed were only acquaintances before, but now we email regularly and I feel closer to them than people I see every day.
I’ve been doing this once a week for the past several months and so far it’s helped me feel happier, increased my self-esteem and made me more connected those I love.
Skeptical? Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose. Let us know in the comments how it goes.