The Key to Good Health is Happiness, as Revealed by 75-year-long Study
Did you know that being happy, just might put you in better health? A study conducted by Harvard researchers revealed what has been on-going for the last 80 years, and that is “Happiness is integral to good health”.
Done over the course of 75 years, the Harvard Grant Study was one of the longest and most comprehensive studies in history, that is according to The Atlantic, which published a story on it in 2009.
The study began in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men who came from all background. For a long time, researchers tracked a range of factors in the participants’ lives, including alcohol intake, intelligence levels, income and relationships.
In 2012, their findings were published in a book by Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant, who led the study from 1972 to 2004. In a Harvard University Press video, Vaillant describes the study as being the only one of its kind. This is because the 268 men participants allowed researchers to present their lives in a three-dimensional way, which results in a combination of statistics and anecdotes about the human experience.
Secrets to What It Takes to Live a Happy Life:
- Connections and meaningful relationships are important.
- More power and money does not mean more happiness.
- Value and put more important to love above all.
- Happiness can be found at any point in your life, because it is never too late to change.
Study director named Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital said, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and the happiness we are experiencing in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is vital, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too”.
While most of us think of self-care as pertaining to exercise, healthy eating habits, hygiene and relaxation, it seems that keeping our personal relationships healthy is also very important.
The study revealed that maintaining good close relationships, is what truly helps individuals stay happy throughout their lives. Status and money did not lend a hand in determining who led a good life.
Ultimately, those people who reported having a strong interpersonal relationships were the ones who were the healthiest and happiest. Conversely, study participants who did not have strong relationships and were isolated, experienced declines in their physical and mental health as they aged. Previous findings have also shown that health and happiness are strongly related.