Eight Minutes to a Happier You: The Call That Can Change Your Day”

In a world where technology often leads us to feel more isolated than connected, a simple, eight-minute phone call to a friend or loved one can be a powerful antidote to loneliness and the stressors of daily life. This seemingly small act of reaching out can have profound effects on our mental well-being, offering a quick yet meaningful way to enhance our mood and strengthen our connections with others.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry (Kahlon et al., 2021) sheds light on the impact of these brief, empathy-driven conversations. Individuals who received empathetic calls for just four weeks reported significant reductions in feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. These findings highlight the remarkable power of human connection and the potential of a simple phone call to offer comfort and understanding on our busiest days.

The concept of an eight-minute catch-up call is not just about checking a box on our social to-do list; it’s about creating a space for genuine connection and support. Here’s how you can make the most of an eight-minute phone call:

1. Clear Boundaries: Setting a specific timeframe provides a clear beginning and end, making it easier to fit into busy schedules.

2. Focused Connection: Knowing there’s a limited time encourages both parties to focus on meaningful conversation, enhancing the quality of interaction.

3. Reduces Overwhelm: The brevity avoids the potential for the call to feel like a burden, making it more likely for future connections.

4. Avoids Missing Wrap-up Cues: With a predetermined limit, both individuals are on the same page about when the conversation will end, avoiding any awkwardness.

5. Encourages Regularity: The ease of committing to eight minutes can lead to more frequent check-ins, strengthening relationships over time.

Initiating the Eight-Minute Catch-Up:

Simply ask, “Do you have eight minutes for a quick catch-up?” This question sets the stage for a focused, meaningful conversation that respects each other’s time and commitments. In times of uncertainty or when the weight of the world feels too heavy to bear, knowing that someone is just a phone call away can make all the difference.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, let’s remember the value of picking up the phone and reaching out. Just eight minutes can brighten someone’s day, deepen our relationships, and remind us of the joy found in simple human connection.

Laura Moore, MPsy., is an integrative therapist at the Centre For Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) in Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Lila Z. Hakim, C. Psych. Laura provides psychological services to adults and couples experiencing a wide range of concerns. Laura has a particular interest and expertise in relationship distress, with an emphasis on interpersonal and couple relationship functioning. Laura has helped countless individuals navigate issues related to intimacy, fertility, sex, infidelity, separation and divorce. Additionally, her past research focuses on cultivating spousal attunement following traumatic experiences. 

Kahlon, M. K., Aksan, N., Aubrey, R., Clark, N., Cowley-Morillo, M., Jacobs, E. A., … & Tomlinson, S. (2021). Effect of Layperson-Delivered, Empathy-Focused Program of Telephone Calls on Loneliness, Depression, and Anxiety Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 78(6), 616-622. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.0113