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Happiness Study: What Makes Us Happy & Healthy?

Together with the Powerball lottery jackpot reaching mad peaks — to the tune of more than 1.5 billion — most men and women are dreaming about just how all that money will make them joyful.

Yet, as they say, money does not buy happiness, and based on recent findings by some 75-year (and counting) pleasure research, this idiom is 100% true.

In reality, according to psychologist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest Robert Waldinger, the manager at the Harvard Study of Adult Development

“The clearest message we get from that 75-year research is this: Great relationships help keep us happier and fitter, period.”

That, naturally, is in contrast. Waldinger, mentioning a study in which 80% of Millennials stated an essential life goal was to get wealthy and 50 percent noted another main aim was to become renowned, stated,

“We are always told to lean into operating, to push harder and achieve more. We are given the impression that these are the matters that we will need to go after to have a wonderful life.”

However, in line with the Harvard Happiness Study — and what we’ve heard in the planet’s longest-living civilizations — those are not the things which make us joyful.

It is those wholesome relationships that make us fulfilled.


Relationships and Happiness

Three lessons on bonds have been unveiled through the Harvard Happiness Study, which Waldinger shared within his T.E.D Talk.

1. Social Connections do Matter

Researchers have discovered that people who have more social connections to family, friends, and community are happier and healthy, and live longer than people with fewer social relations.

It’s a tenet of people from the blue zones, where a number of the fittest, longest-living individuals on Earth live.

In fact, according to a study people living in the blue zones also have reported this,

… some lifestyle traits, such as family coherence, avoidance of smoking, plant-based diet, moderate and everyday physical activity, social engagement, where folks of all ages are socially active and integrated into the community, are common in all people enrolled in the polls.

What’s more, loneliness kills and”turns out to be poisonous.” Loners, individuals who are isolated or outcast, are less happy, fitter, their health declines, and their mind functions decline.

They tend to have shorter lives, to top it off.

“The sad reality is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they are lonely,” Waldinger said.

2. Quality Is More Important than Quantity

The amount of social connections isn’t a sign of pleasure, necessarily. Our close relationships must be healthy to affect our happiness positively.

Living in conflict is detrimental to our health. While sustaining excellent connections are protective to your wellness,

By way of example, based on Waldinger, high-conflict unions without much affection are perhaps worse than getting divorced.

That’s why conflict resolution is indeed crucial to maintaining healthy relationships.

One startling finding occurred when investigators attempted to find indicators for late-life pleasure.

It turns out, the Harvard Happiness Study participants’ health at 50 — such as cholesterol levels — was not an accurate predictor of longevity; it was satisfied they had been at their relationships.

Just how did the Harvard Happiness Study reveal this?

The participants who were happy with their relationships at 50 turned out to be more healthy when they attained 80.

Turned out not to be affected by physical pain that often comes from decades of tears and wears on the human body.

Thus pain becomes magnified by emotional distress, Waldinger said.

3. Good Relationships Protect Our Brains

In addition to better health and longer life, our brains are protected by sustaining healthy relationships.

Especially when we feel we could count on people with whom we have close relationships, our memories remain sharper longer.

Also, Dan Buettner, writer of”The Blue Zones,” shares the importance of healthy relationships to those residing in the blue zone areas:

The world’s longevity all-stars not just live longer, they also tend to live better. They have strong relations with their loved ones members and friends. They’re active. They wake up in the morning knowing they have a purpose, and the planet, in a way that propels along them, reacts then. An overwhelming majority of them enjoy life.


How to Apply the Happiness Study Findings

These lessons aren’t all that shocking. We’ve known forever that happy, healthy.

But it’s something a lot of men and women ignore for myriad reasons: financial stresses, chronic stress, societal expectations, etc..

As Waldinger put it, “We’re human. What we’d like is a quick fix.

Relationships are messy, and they are complicated and the hard work of tending to relatives and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It is lifelong. It never ends.”

So how do we take a step back from the 21st-century” always-on” mentality and place more attention on our own lives out work and the internet world? Waldinger suggested a few ways:


Happiness Study

Last 75 years, the Harvard Study of Adult Development — aka the Happiness Study — has monitored the lives of 724 men, tracking their work, home lifestyles, health, etc., year after year, to get a better image of exactly what makes people happy.

About 60 of the original subjects are engaging in the analysis, while more than 2,000 kids of those 724 are being studied and still alive.

Two groups of guys have been tracked since 1938. The very first began as sophomores at Harvard, while the second included a group of boys from the weakest areas, explicitly selected because they were from families of Boston.

Every two years — they’ve been monitored their lives and get a round of interviews — in their living rooms along with another poll.

Researchers also get their records to draw on their bloodstream, speak to their children and scan their brains.

They recently asked the wives to combine the study and also take a video of them and their wives speaking in their worries.


Happiness Study Takeaways