Generations of Harvard University researchers tracked the physical and emotional well being of hundreds of men from 1938 to 2014 . The researchers surveyed, interviewed, sampled blood and took brain scans of these men repeatedly over the 75 years of the study. (Click here for the link to the original study.)
Conclusion: one factor far and away was most important in keeping these men happier and healthier over their lifetimes: good relationships. And on the other hand, those who felt lonely were far more likely to see their physical health decline and to die younger.
Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study on Adult Development, said, “It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you are in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”
Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who directed the study from 1972 to 2004, observed that there were two main factors in living a happier, healthier life: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”
Something to think about, true?
And finally, there are these observations from the Marriage Counseling and Therapy Network: “The next time you are scrolling through Facebook instead of being present at the table with your significant other, or you’re considering staying late at the office instead of getting together with your close friend, or you catch yourself working on a Saturday instead of going to the farmer’s market with your sister, consider making a different choice.”
For more information about Nikki Nelson, LCSW, click here.
Originally published May 1, 2019