Nearly 75 years of research from Harvard University has proven that money or possessions are not what will help you live a longer and happier life.
What makes you happy and healthy? Many people think that it is fame and money. But to find the exact answer to this question, Harvard University has conducted a lifetime study to find the basis of happiness.
The study began in 1938 and lasted until 2012. For nearly 75 years, the scientists followed the lives of 724 men, sending them questionnaires and interviewing them in their own homes. They are monitored health through medical records, blood samples, brain scans. The experts also talked to the wives and children of the participants.
By 2012, nearly 60 of those 724 men were still alive, in their 90s, and still being studied. More than 2,000 of their descendants also participated in the process.
The people who started the study were divided into two groups, said Robert Waldinger, director of research and psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The first group is second-year Harvard University students. The second group were boys from the neighborhood, the poorest family of Boston in the 1930s.
After analyzing 10,000 pages of research data, the researchers asserted: “The surprising finding is that relationships and how happy we are in those relationships have a strong influence on our health and well-being. Everyone’s health. Taking care of your body is important, but taking care of your relationships is also a form of self-care.”
Research also reveals that more than money, close relationships are what make people happy throughout their lives. Because those relationships protect people from dissatisfaction in life, help delay mental and physical decline. At the same time, a good relationship is a predictor of a long happy life.
Here are three big lessons that scientists have learned from this study:
Socializing is really good for you and helps kill loneliness
“People with better connections to family, friends and communities are happier, have better health and live longer than those with less close relationships,” says Professor Waldinger.
On the contrary, loneliness is very toxic. Waldinger points out that there are people who feel alone even in the midst of a crowd or living with a partner.
“Isolated people find they are less happy, have poorer health in early middle age, brain function declines earlier and life expectancy is shorter than those living in warm relationships” Waldinger explained.
In relationships, quality is more important than quantity
“With friends, it doesn’t matter how many people you have, it’s the close relationships that matter,” the researcher said.
Similarly, having a spouse does not guarantee you will be happy, but basically, you will feel peaceful and warm in that relationship. “Living in the midst of disagreements, being emotionally cold is even more harmful than divorce,” he said.
Robert Waldinger told his wife Jennifer Stone: “Those who are satisfied in their relationships at 50 are the healthiest at 80.
Happy 80-year-old men and women say that when their bodies are sick, they still feel happy. Meanwhile, those in unhappy relationships shared, their physical pain was exacerbated when emotional pain was present.
Good relationships help protect the brain
Attachment to others, Waldinger explains, makes your memory sharper. Those who always feel confident in their partner, can rely on “the other half” when needed, the ability to remember things better, longer.
However, researchers assert that a good relationship does not mean it is always perfect, always smooth. “As long as you feel you can really rely on the other person during difficult times, arguments and disagreements don’t affect your memories,” he explains.
If you want to live longer, be happier, and have positive relationships, says Waldinger, replace screen time with real people, rekindling cold relationships by doing things together. something new like a long walk or date nights or reconnecting with loved ones you haven’t talked to in a few years.
Source: News Harvard Edu