A 75-year study has revealed the secret to a long and happy life. Despite what you may think, it has nothing to do with money or your career, but actually all boils down to one key factor – love.
For over 75 years, Harvard’s Grant & Glueck study has tracked the physical and emotional well-being of two populations: 456 poor men growing up in Boston from 1939 to 2014 (the Grant Study), and 268 male graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939-1944 (the Glueck study).
Due to the length of the research period, this has required multiple generations of researchers. Since before WWII, they’ve diligently analyzed blood samples, conducted brain scans (once they became available), and pored over self-reported surveys as well as actual interactions with these men to compile the findings.
Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development explained:
The research showed that having someone to rely on relaxes the nervous system and reduces both physical and emotional pain. However, those who are lonely are more likely to have worse health and actually die younger!
Waldinger went on:
Basically-speaking, it doesn’t matter if you have a partner or not, so long as you have quality relationships. These can be with friends and family as much as with a spouse or partner. The study showed that it is important to have support and real depth within your relationships.
As Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant, who directed the study between 1972 and 2004 explains there are two important factors at play:
How you deal with setbacks is as important as the love itself, which is a good reminder to all of us to invest a little more time into our relationships. Working all the hours God sends to make as much money as possible won’t equal a happy life, nor will training for that perfect body. No, it seems that a happy life is all about the connections we make and how we deal with our stresses and emotions.
That said, it makes sense as, after all is said and done, we are all sociable animals really!
‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’ – Rumi
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