Would you believe us if we told you that money and fame do little to help you live a long and healthy life in comparison to your friends and family? This extensive study conducted on happiness could very well change your outlook on life.
No offense to French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who famously said that “hell is other people,” but our personal relationships play a huge role in our ability to live a long and happy life. At least, that’s what this 79-year study shows, conducted by a team of researchers under the direction of Dr. Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.”
This American study revealed that those who were the happiest in their relationships at the age of 50 were those in the best health at the age of 80. It even goes so far as to say that our genetics are less of an indicator of our health and longevity than maintaining positive relationships with our family, friends and community.
“Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism,” says Dr. Waldinger.
Let’s not forget that quality is more important than quantity. When Dr. Waldinger talks about relationships, he’s referring to the fact that collecting acquaintances doesn’t have the same impact on your health as developing a single quality relationship because it doesn’t take a lot of time, trust or investment. The study describes empathy and attachment as being the keys to healthy aging. Forging solid relationships with those closest to you is just as important as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet*. With FizzUp, you’re covered in both departments!
These relationships boost your endocrines, immune system and cardiovascular system, whereas isolation, introversion and a lack of trust promote the development of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and in some cases, cancer. Having a fulfilling social life can also do good for your brain. It supports mental flexibility by requiring your memory to make an effort to remember what you’ve learned about other people and the story someone might have told you the other day, for instance. When you take care of your relationships, you’re increasing your odds of living a long and healthy life.
One of Dr. Robert Waldinger researchers, George Vaillant, wrote a book called Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, in which he outlines the six ways you can live and long and healthy life:
It goes without saying that none of these factors is easy to maintain. The hardest factor might not be the one you think. Having a stable marriage demands a lot of time and effort. As Dr. Waldinger put it,
“Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.”
As for coping mechanisms, learning to handle life’s twists and turns is vital. Meditation can help you find more inner peace and deal with your emotions from outside perspective.
You can live a long and healthy life when you make regular exercise, a balanced diet and strong relationships part of your life. Strengthen your social bonds by spending less time watching TV or scrolling through social media and more time with your friends and family. You’ll see how much happier you feel!
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