What makes a good life? 3 lessons from the longest study on happiness

The month of January, more than any other month, people take time to reflect on how to invest their time and energy. We decide where should we put it to ensure our future best self. For most of us it’s guesswork.
Unfortunately, 80% of millennials guess wrong. They chose a goal that studies have shown will not make them happy; getting rich.
What if you knew what would keep you healthy and happy as you go through life? What if the recipe to promote the greatest happiness has been proven?
Great news for us… it has! And there is link below to a fabulous TED talk to explain it.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest study ever done. It tracked the lives of 724 men for 75 years. It is a rare project that offers us great insight into the recipe for happiness.
The clearest message from this unique study is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period. This is what they discovered:
  1. Those better connected to family, friends and community are hapier and live longer. Those happiest in retirement worked hard to replace work mates with play mates. Those who faired best were those who leaned into relationships.
  2. People more isolated than they wanted to be were less happy and their health declined sooner and they live shorted lives than those less lonely.
  3. Quality not quantity of relationships matters.
In other words, the good life, it turns out, is built on good relationships. Forget your cholesterol levels as a predictor of longevity, look at your satisfaction in your relationships. Those most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies – they protect our minds too.
So… what will you add to your goals this month? Will it be how to achieve the next promotion or how to lean into your relationships? Maybe it’s as simple as…
  • scheduling date night with your spouse each week?
  • booking a weekend with your friends?
  • committing to more snowman building time with your kids?
  • joining a group?
Here’s to making this the best year yet!

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