We are all searching for happiness. But how do we achieve it? What are its greatest determinants?
The Harvard Study of Adult Development may be the most comprehensive study ever conducted, as it followed its participants for their entire adult lives. The study was started in Boston in 1938 and has already covered three generations: grandparents, parents, and children, who are now considered “baby boomers.” It analyzed more than 2000 people throughout 85 years of longitudinal study. By following this large population for more than eight decades, the study uncovered the factors most correlated with well-being and happiness. Here, I have summarized some of the authors’ main concepts.
The study’s happiest participants had two major factors in common throughout its 85 years: taking care of their health and building loving relationships with others. It seems obvious that being in good health is essential to living well. However researchers determined that good relationships were the most significant predictor of health and happiness during aging. The happiest people valued and fostered relationships.
Professional success on its own does not guarantee happiness, even though it may be gratifying. Levels of education and cultural awareness, which tend to be higher among those with higher salaries, were also important factors for adopting healthy habits and for better access to healthcare.
Loneliness is increasingly common and creates challenges when dealing with stressful situations. It is essential to have someone with whom we can vent. Therefore, one should foster, strengthen, and broaden relationships. Maintaining social connections requires constant practice. Friendships and relationships need regular commitment to keep them from fizzling out. A simple telephone call can help. Participating in activities that bring joy and encourage camaraderie, such as sports, hobbies, and volunteer work, may broaden the relationship network.
Social media almost always shows the positive side of people’s lives and suggests that everyone lives worry-free. However, the truth is that no one’s life is free of difficulties and challenges. Social skills contribute to resilience.
It is never too late for a turnaround and change life through new relationships and experiences. The study showed that good things happened and good news appeared when least expected it.
They never intended to become heroes…
But actions speak louder than words.
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Mona lives in South Florida and has traveled to more than eighty countries on business or vacation. She writes contemporary romances, medical romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal fantasy. Sprinkled with a good dose of humor, her stories are set in the fascinating places she visited or more simply at home.
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