Image via iStock.
The secret to happiness. So simple, eh?
We’re often told things like money, fame and power will never make us truly happy, but our relationships with others will. This is true, of course, but what kind of relationships are we talking about, and with whom? For instance, if you fight with your partner all the time, can that relationship truly make you happy?
One study may have just found the answer, outlining the three keys factors in relationships that contribute to our individual happiness.
The research followed 724 men over 75 years, monitoring their quality of relationships, job satisfaction, and social activities as well as their physical health. Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, from Harvard Study of Adult Development, described the findings in a recent TED talk.
“Many of our men, when they were starting out as young adults, really believed that fame and wealth and high achievement were what they needed to go after to have a good life. 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,” Waldinger says.
There are three key ways in which this works. Check them out below.
Watch: One way to reflect on your happiness levels? Meditation. Find out more this Paper Tiger video. (Post continues after video.)
1. Social connection.
The study findings suggest the less social a person is, the more likely they are to not only be unhappy, but to have poor health.
According to Waldinger, if too much alone time leads to a feeling of loneliness it can result in a decline in health, an earlier decline in brain function, as well as a shortened life expectancy than people who are more social. Yikes.
“It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well-connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic,” Waldinger says.
I’ve been wanting to join a book club for about five years now, but have never made a movement. After reading this, I’m signing up. Now.