“Well, we’re humans. We would easily believe that a 5 rupee fairness cream could get us from rags to riches in 7 days but this, we might ignore. We crave a quick fix. Something…”
Who wouldn’t want to live a long and happy life? But what do you think contributes to it? Though majority of people have ‘getting rich and famous’ on their life goals, its not money.
Sure, money buys you the expensive treatment and a healthy lifestyle at its best but it still does not guarantee longetivity. As a matter of fact, an average human spends most of his lifetime achieving his life goals and the rest of his lifetime in spending that wealth to mend the damage done in the process: to the body or the mind. Why should you believe me? You shouldn’t.
But you might wanna have a look at the longest study of human life ‘Harvard Study of Adult Development’ that tracked the lives of 724 men for 80 years! They hoped that the study would reveal clues to long and healthy life. So, they tracked everything from their work life, home, health, habits year after year. They found more than what they wanted. Thousands of pages of complex information was gathered in this process. To learn how the info was collected, scroll all the way down.
Now what was the resounding message that surfaced through this study?
The one clear message from this complex study was this- Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
The three big lessons that were learned about relationships in the study are:
1. The people who are socially well connected to their family, friends or community are happier. They are physically healthier and live longer. And loneliness kills! People that are more isolated than they wannabe from others find that they are less happy, their health declines early on, their brain function declines sooner and live shorter.
2. Its the quality over quantity of relationships that matter. Its not the number of friends you have or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. You can be lonely in a committed marriage too. Conflicts in marriages showed more damage than divorces. The quality of relationships that you share with others matters over quantity. Its about how you feel.
3. The people who were most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies , they protect our brains. People who felt secure in their relationships had sharper memories even in their 80’s while people who felt they cannot count on the other showed early life memory decline.
♥️These relationships that made live longer and healthier need not be smooth all the time. Some of the couples bickered and fought all the time but what mattered was that at the end of the day they felt they could realllllllllllllly count on the other. They had mutual respect for their partners feelings and were sensitive to make them feel valued and loved. ♥️
This message ‘Good close relationships are good for our well being’ is as old as the hills. But why is this hard to get and easy to ignore?- asks Robert Wallinger, the 4th director of the study.
Well, we’re humans. We would easily believe that a 5 rupee fairness cream could get us from rags to riches in 7 days but this, we might ignore. We crave a quick fix. Something that we can get (read buy) that would keep us happy our entire lives.
In a generation that feels proud to be heartless or empty of feelings or afraid of saying too much or feeling too much, its not easy being you. A good relationship of any kind ‘understands’ (If it doesn’t, its not a good relationship), so there is no need of being afraid and showing that you are devoid of feelings or putting up a facade of emptiness. Let it out, be your natural self. Be emotional, be truthful, be full of feelings, be affectionate. The world needs it. More than ever. Relationships are complicated, they’re messy. The hard work to tend to family and friends is not easy and its not something you’d call sexy or glamorous but it is all that counts.
Moral of the story: Let every word you speak be of affection. Invest more in your circle and don’t get entangled so much in pursuing your material goals that you stray away from the very pursuit of happiness.
P.S: I’m no expert but I do try. The question is will you?
A bit more about the study: This rare study tracked lives of 724 men of which 60 are still alive and are in their 90’s. The researchers are now beginning to study more than 2000 children of this men.
Since 1938, two groups of men were tracked. One group consisted of teenage sophomores who had just graduated from Harvard college while the other group consisted of boys from slums of Boston with troubled and disadvantaged background. The uncover is dramatic. Some became factory workers, some rose to glory, some fell from it, and one became the president of USA. The bottom line is there were people from all walks of life as they turned into adults. The researchers interviewed them all along year after year. And not just by sending them a questionnaire but they tracked thier medical bills, interviewed them personally in thier living rooms, talked to their children, had their brains scanned, and also taped them talking about their deepest concerns to their wives.