Quality Relationships Key to Lifelong Happiness
Harvard Study Proves Quality Relationships “Trump”
Wealth, Success and Fame for Lifelong Happiness
A remarkable 75-year study conducted under the direction of Robert Waldinger (the 4th director over the term of the study) has compared Harvard graduates with Boston residents who grew up disadvantaged. This appears to be the longest study of lifelong happiness.
Since 1938 they studied two groups of men. About 60 of the original 724 men are still alive and still participating in the study.They began with a group of Harvard sophomores and another group of the most disadvantaged boys is Boston.
Over the 75 years, they have become a wildly diverse group. Some were blue-collar workers, others were high level professionals. One became the president of the United States.
The study used questionnaires, interviews, medical records, blood work and brain scans to track the long term health of both groups. The researchers also video recorded the interactions that research participants had with their spouses.
The study proves that good relationships are the best predictor of lifelong health and happiness.
5 key findings leading to lifelong happiness:
- High-conflict relationships are a good predictor of poor health.
- Safe securely-attached relationships protect us from health problems into old age.
- The number of friends you have, i.e. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest followers did not predict better health.
- High quality emotionally connected relationships keep the brain functioning better into old age.
- Loneliness kills us. Men in the study who reported feeling lonely had earlier declines.
People who made close relationship their priority where healthier, happier and smarter over the whole of their lives.
In an era when Trump-economics promise to deliver us from our misery, let’s not forget about the one thing that will truly give us a better existence. Whether we are a bricklayer or a Harvard lawyer, we all have the capacity to choose to create better relationships.