Here at A Life Enjoyed, Brance and I are really into research and studies–especially those that have to do with health and happiness.
Because we are about enjoying life. You see, my own transformation came about as a result of some discoveries I made through research. These discoveries have been worth their weight in gold to me and my precious family.
And because my life is so much better for these discoveries, our blog was born–to hopefully help and inspire others. From the beginning, we’ve said to one another that if even one person is helped, this will be worth the effort. So we continue to look and learn and share those things with you.
Well, you can imagine how giddy I was when the results recently came out on a 75 year happiness study, the longest to date. The study was done by Harvard researches right here in our backyard.
The results will surprise most people. What they found contradicts what the majority of us assumes makes for a good life.
When asked, most of us believe that happiness comes with fame and money. And so we kill ourselves at our jobs, and hobbies, and projects trying to make a name for ourselves and trying to accumulate more wealth. And our reward? Poor health and dissatisfaction.
Yet, when we feel dissatisfied we assume that the antidote, the way to happiness, is more fame and money. We subconsciously end up in this hamster wheel endlessly pursuing fame and money to our own demise, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I should mention, that this can even be for a good cause. I’ve seen this very thing with people in ministry or charity work, pursuing their happiness in the success of their work (which is not necessarily monetarily driven). But the results are the same.
So, if fame and fortune aren’t where happiness is, where is it?
The number one predictor of your future happiness and health (!) is the quality of your relationships. We were made to be in deep, meaningful relationship our entire life. And when we are, we are happier and healthier. (I can’t help but think of the verse in the bible that says that it is not good for man to be alone!)
The study found it wasn’t the quantity, but the quality, that mattered. For example, simply being married or knowing a lot of people did not predict happiness–if your relationships were full of bitterness and anger.
Meaningful relationship could take the form of a spouse (or not), a dear friend or two, and/or close family members. The key is to dig deep and forge relationships that are full of meaning and beauty. To have and be a friend in the thick and thin of life.
*I should mention here that there are other factors that contribute in a big way to our happiness and health, as well (I talk about several of them in my free ebook)…diet, sleep, exercise etc. It’s just that, as this study and others like it have found, loneliness is deadly (physically and emotionally), making having meaningful relationships top the list as a happiness and health predictor. (Little good do our other health practices do us when loneliness is akin to smoking several packs a day while eating nothing but desserts.)
Alright, A Life Enjoyed friends! The research is in. If you want to invest in your happiness now and in the future, it’s time to build meaningful relationships!
With love and gratitude for you all,
P.S. I am always super excited when new research confirms things that we have been teaching and promoting on this space. In my free ebook, “1 Week to a Happier You”, I share 7 research–backed things to help you live a more enjoyable life. Well, it looks like 1 of those (Connection (aka. meaningful relationship)) is now THE number one thing!
P.P.S. You can watch for yourself here…
* Update: this paragraph was added after the post was published to clarify.