Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Harvard researchers discovered the one thing everyone needs for happier, healthier lives

Colby Itkowitz March 2, 2016


My grandmother knew what Harvard researchers have since confirmed: Relationships are the key to a happy life.

Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist, took over the more than 75-year-long Grant Study in 2003, becoming the fourth person to run it. He recently gave a TedTalk on it that has been viewed more than 6.5 million times since November 2015.

Waldinger felt it was important to do it. The federal government had spent millions on the study for decades, but everyday taxpayers didn’t really know what was discovered.


Many conclusions have been gleaned from monitoring these lives from young adult through old age, but to Waldinger there’s one clear takeaway: The happiest and healthiest participants in both groups were the ones who maintained close, intimate relationships.


Quality and intimacy, as well as stability and consistency also matter. Casual relationships, like the ones forged on social media won’t do; neither will contentious ones like an abusive marriage or an unreliable friend.


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