Happiness Harvard study
in ,

A 75-year Harvard study: The most important factor in human happiness

Have you ever heard of the Harvard study that ran for 75 years to assess what makes us happy? It’s a revolutionary study in psychology.

It followed the lives of two groups of men for over 75 years, and it now follows their Baby Boomer children to understand how childhood experience reaches across decades to affect health and wellbeing in middle age.

So what keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction and he lays it all bare in the Ted talk below.

So what is the number one factor in your happiness and wellbeing? According to Waldinger:

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

Yep, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfilment overall in life is, basically, love.

Specifically, the study showed that having someone you can rely upon helps your nervous systems relax, helps your brain stay healthy and reduces emotional pain.

ADVERTISEMENT

The data also clearly found that those who feel lonely are more likely to see their physical health decline earlier and die younger.

“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship,” says Waldinger. “It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”

*** Do you want to learn how to stand up to toxic people in your life? Hint: You need to get angry and then do something with your anger. That's what we teach in our latest FREE MASTERCLASS: EMBRACE YOUR INNER BEAST: TURNING YOUR ANGER INTO YOUR ALLY. Playing only for a limited time.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge group friends, or if you’re in the perfect romantic relationship, it’s the quality of the relationships that counts – how much depth and honesty exists within them; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are.

This a very good reminder to prioritize authentic connection with others. Because the data is clear that, in the end, you could all have the money you’ve ever wanted, but without loving relationships, you won’t be happy.

For a deeper dive into the significance of this study and what it truly means, check out this video below.

NOW WATCH: Here are my 5 unconventional tips to living a happy life

(Buddhists have been studying the phenomenon of happiness for millennia. In my new eBook, I use iconic Buddhist teachings to provide no-nonsense suggestions for living a happier life. Check it out here).


Are you tired of being pushed around?

If you answered "yes" to this question, there's something very important you need to do...

ADVERTISEMENT

You know why?

Because it sucks to be taken for granted, treated like you don't matter and manipulated without a moment's thought.

The problem is worse than many people realize. It's not just people in our personal lives treating us like dirt. It's also our politicians and corporate leaders.

That's right. Our society is based upon us acting like sheep, letting the powerful people do what they want.

But there's something you can do right now to change the game.

You can embrace your inner beast. You can get angry. And you can do something powerful with this anger.

ADVERTISEMENT

That's what we teach in our latest entirely free masterclass:

How to Embrace Your Inner Beast: Turning Your Anger into Your Ally

It's playing for a limited time, so register now and check it out.

Subscribe to Ideapod's weekly newsletter

Learn how to break through limiting paradigms, find your creativity, and embrace your personal power.

We won't send you spam. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Be the first to comment on this article at Ideapod Discussions

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

The 5 Eastern Philosophers That Have Made a Huge Impact on the World

Zen Master Osho Brilliantly Explains Why You Should Never Eat Meat