What makes us happy? Of course that’s not wealth or fame, it’s something completely different. At least that is what an unique and extensive recent scientific study showed. After 75 years of following a large group of men and women, these are the three most important life lessons for a long and happy life.
What keeps us healthy and happy throughout our lives? If you too think these are wealth or fame, you are not alone. A recent study asked plenty of twenty-somethings if this was indeed their answer to the question of what their goal in life was: to become rich and/or famous. Their answer was yes.
The study showed that more than 80 percent find it indeed very important to get rich. Another 50 percent of those same young adults report that another important life goal is to become famous.
Is it really to become rich and/or famous?
However, Robert Waldinger knows better. He is the chief of a major Harvard study on happiness and health throughout life. For 75 years, their researchers have been following a group of men and their wives throughout their lives. Every two years, the men and women were questioned about what made them happy. The answers are very enlightening.
In this TED talk, psychiatrist and researcher Waldinger talks about the results of their research. These are the three things that really make you happy. And what keeps you healthy.
The big three what makes the good life factors?
Waldinger mentions in his TedTalk 3 great lessons about relationships. The first is that social bonds are good for us, and loneliness kills. It also turns out that people with more social ties (such as family, friends and a community) are happier, physically healthier and live longer than people with fewer social ties.
The 2nd lesson is that a good life is not about the number of friends you have (and whether you’re in a committed relationship), but about the quality of your relationships. A conflict-filled marriage with little room for affection is extremely bad for our health. Maybe even worse than a divorce!
A 3rd big lesson about relationships and health is that good relationships not only protect our body, but also our brain. They give us a buffer against some of the bad sides of aging, such as memory loss. For example, the research shows that people in a relationship who feel they can count on the other person in times of need retain a sharp memory for longer.
The ultimate conclusion of all of this is that a good life consists of good relationships. Happiness is in this case the meaning and purpose of life due to wonderful relationships.