For the past 75 years, Harvard University has quietly been running a study on two groups of men — and, now, their Baby Boomer children. It examines how childhood experiences affect health and wellbeing into the teen and mid-aged years, and the results are astonishing!
What would you guess most surely leads to happiness and satisfaction in life? Money? Fame? Power? Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, now director of the 75-year-long Harvard study, seems to think differently. With access to an unprecedented amount of data, he concludes that: “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
Now, this doesn’t simply mean how many friends you have (Facebook or otherwise). Neither does it necessarily mean having the perfect relationship with a partner or spouse. Instead, what the study shows is that quality of relationships is the #1 factor in determining whether you are happy in life. Having people to rely on in life has a whole host of physical benefits, from reduced stress to a greater ability to cope with emotional pain.
This carries a hugely important message: It doesn’t really matter how much you have — of money, possessions, friends, or lovers — so much as the quality of those things. It’s an encouragement to choose your friends carefully, and cherish them fully, every day. Take it from Waldinger himself: “It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship or not. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
For more on this, watch doctor Waldinger’s TedTalk here:
Check out the awesome article that inspired this one here.