Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger identified some of the secrets to happiness revealed in a recently released 75-year-long Harvard Study in a recent TED talk.
Love should be given a great value above all else. It is the core source of our happiness. Once you realized what really made people happy over three-quarters of a century, you will stop assuming what will make you happy and you might change your means.
“The 75 years and 20 million dollars expended on the Grant Study points…to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’” Said Psychiatrist George Vaillant led the study from 1972-2004 and wrote about this important study with a pinch of humor.
|Image; East Coast Radio|
It followed two sets of white men: 268 Harvard sophomores were part of the ‘Grant Study’ and was led by Harvard Psychiatrist Geor Vaillant, of which 456 12 to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner-city Boston were part of the “Glueck Study” and was led by Harvard Law School, Professor Sheldon Glueck.
The researchers charted the men regarding their jobs, relationships, and health for the past 75 years.
The ultimate takeaway from the study was the discovery that relationships bring us utmost bliss. Good relationships give us the most happiness.
Digging deeper in this study we have the three vital items that matter.
Based on the study, men from both groups who had better relationships with friends, community and family were happier and healthier than the other social counterparts and even lived longer.
On the other hand, lonely people had more health related issues and felt less happy. Also, they suffered from sleeping disorders and some mental health problems.
Men who have ‘warm’ childhood connections with their mothers were less prone to develop dementia in the future and were more likely to have professional success.
Quality (Not Quantity) of Relationships
Staying in an old toxic relationship will not make you happier. As a matter of fact, the study showed that alone people were happier than people in conflicting relationships.
Furthermore, the number of relationships is more important to people in their 20s than people in their 30s. Seemingly, many friends do not necessarily mean that they were happier than those who have few truly close friends.
Stable, Supportive Marriages
Being in touch with people not only stimulates better health but also decelerates mental failure.
The Harvard study found out that married people who have never been divorced, separated or having major issues until age 50 performed better on memory tests later in life than those who were not.
Generally, marriage has been associated with a lower risk of having dementia.
The study also revealed that while most people consider acquiring wealth and working hard being the major ingredient of happiness it turns otherwise, things are far modest than we assume.
Relationships with family, friends, and the community outshined all other factors in getting happiness to the study participants through the 75 years they were surveyed. For professions, having a meaningful connection to the type of work you are doing is more important than achieving traditional success (i.e., wealth)
May this study enlightens us and be the guiding light in our future endeavors.
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