When someone asks how you’re doing, what is your response? If you’re like many hard-working Americans, the answer to this question is often “I’m busy!”

Today, being busy is extremely common. What’s less common, however, is talking about the downsides of busyness. There are many undesirable consequences to being overworked—one of which is unhappiness.

A demanding schedule can negatively influence your relationships, which are crucial to your happiness. Luckily, you can have your cake and eat it, too. It is possible to maintain a busy lifestyle—if you want—and have deep, meaningful ties with your loved ones.

Below, you’ll learn how caring for your loved ones can improve your happiness. You’ll also read about how you can identify important people in your life and connect with them in meaningful ways.

1) Connection Leads to Happiness

Your physical and emotional well-being is influenced by the human bonds you have. According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development—one of the longest studies of adult life ever conducted—good relationships make you happier and healthier. Moreover, loneliness can be detrimental to your mental and physical health.

In the study, the participants that were the healthiest were also the most satisfied in their relationships. These individuals reported that they had positive moods and outlooks—even when they experienced emotional or physical pain. Participants with high-quality relationships experienced less mental deterioration as they aged, too.

2) Identifying Important People

If you’d like to take advantage of the benefits above, start with some introspection. People that intuitively understand themselves have stronger connections and more happiness overall.

Next, you’ll start to think about others. Think about all of the people in your life, and then think about the ones who you value most. Although you might be tempted to assign long-term friends and/or family members inherent value, try to avoid this tendency. Think about every person in your life and determine which ones enhance your life and make you happier.

3) How You Can Connect

After you understand who your loved ones truly are, you can start to connect with them in more profound ways. No matter where your relationships are now, you can make them better. There are a few techniques that can help you have more meaningful friendships, but one of the most effective is to employ the five facets of connection: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

A) Words of Affirmation

Take time to tell people how much they mean to you. Use a program like Adobe Spark to make them a custom card or simply speak with them and let them know they’re an important part of your life.

B) Acts of Service

When you are strengthening your relationship with acts of service, do things you know others will appreciate. Maybe you cook them a special meal or surprise them by cleaning their car—any act of service will do.

C) Gift-Giving

The spirit of giving is key when it comes to connecting with loved ones. Sending gifts—one of the only concrete symbols of love—shows the other person that you were thinking about them or remembered an important time in their life. On the surface, this seems like a pretty simple task, but according to the Journal of Consumer Research, people are actually pretty awful gift-givers.

To overcome this barrier, consider using a service like Occasion Station to send the perfect gift.

This company remembers special occasions for important people in your life, and it sends them individualized gifts on said occasions. Their professional online shoppers help to ensure you never neglect a loved one’s life event—whether it’s a birthday, graduation or anniversary.

D) Quality Time

Another way to strengthen your bond with loved ones is to spend quality time with them. Whenever you give someone your undivided attention, you are spending quality time with them. Get rid of all distractions and focus on talking with your loved one and really being present with them.

E) Physical Touch

Lastly, take time to physically embrace your loved ones. Hold hands with your partner, high five your friends, touch someone’s shoulder when they’re feeling down. It’s amazing how much love you can communicate through simply giving someone a warm hug.

Get Creative

Under no circumstances should you neglect your loved ones—even if you’re really busy. Fortunately, no matter where your relationships currently stand, you can start to improve them with the advice above.

After you incorporate these recommendations into your life, get creative and come up with your own techniques. Spend time thinking about your loved ones and determine ways that you can add value to your relationships with them.

Doing this will increase your busyness, but it’ll also improve your emotional and physical health more than you’ll believe. If you want to be happy, show the important people in your life more love.