Happiness is one of the most important things in life, yet it's also one of the hardest to study.
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest and most complete studies of adult life ever conducted. Waldinger described some of the secrets to happiness revealed by the study in a recent TED talk.
Here is the major finding: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
Waldinger pointed out these three key lessons about happiness:
1. Close relationships
Participants the Harvard study who reported being closer to their family, friends, or community tended to be happier and healthier than their less social counterparts. They also tended to live longer.
2. Quality (not quantity) of relationships
It's not just being in a relationship that matters. Also noted was the effect of relationship quality seems to depend somewhat on age. A 2015 study published in the journal Psychology and Aging that followed people for 30 years found that the number of relationships people had was, in fact, more important for people in their 20s, but the quality of relationships had a bigger effect on social and psychological well-being when people were in their 30s and beyond.
3. Stable, supportive relationships
Being socially connected to others isn't just good for our physical health. It also helps stave off mental decline. Society places a lot of emphasis on wealth and "leaning in" to our work, Waldinger said. "But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community."
[Excerpt from Waldinger interview on TED talk.]
A wonderful way to make new friends; The Red Hat Society.
There’s only one. Join the Fun!
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