Happy Potters are happy

Carolyn Detjen

I wasn’t around when the pottery club was named. “Happy” is a curious descriptive for a club filled with vintage fossils. What? You think that is a mean thing to say? Well, I am close to being the oldest artist in the club, and I think that since I am composing this article, it is a wonderful description. I have always felt that “vintage” kind of rolled off the tongue nicely, smoothly; and as far as fossils goes, I paid quite a few hard-earned dollars for fossilized walrus tusk when living in Alaska. Fossils are valuable and treasured. Doesn’t that describe you?

We are a club, a group, focused on creating. In order to relax, dream, think in vibrant ways – in other words, “create” – it takes in some measure of joy, laughter, happiness and “no fear” from those that would be critical of our work. Our group has melded together over time and friendships have developed. Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. They can increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness and reduce your stress. They can help you cope with traumas, and hopefully improve your self-confidence.

Developing and maintaining healthy friendships involves give-and-take. Sometimes you’re the one giving support and other times you’re on the receiving end. To nurture your group of friends, be kind. Think of friendship as an emotional bank account. Every act of kindness and every expression of gratitude are deposits into this account, while criticism and negativity draw down the account. Show that you can be trusted. Being responsible, reliable and dependable are key to forming strong friendships.

Social connectedness isn’t about being popular or having a lot of friends. Research finds it’s belonging to a “group” that’s most important for your health. When we feel we truly belong to a group – like being a “Happy Potter” or “us Southerland Drive residents” (they have happy hour in the afternoon) – we benefit from the bonds we share with other group members. Belonging to a group tells us something about who we are. It is about feeling that you belong. that you trust others and they trust you in a shared purpose, and that group members can rely on each other. Just like money in the bank helps you absorb financial shocks, a broad network of social group membership means you can better navigate the physical and mental stresses of life.

All in all, Happy Potters Club is a group of happy potters.