Researchers at Harvard have been attempting to learn key life lessons from an 80 year old happiness study. Starting in 1938 during the Great Depression, scientists have been trying to hack the happiness code. Here’s what they discovered.
Unlocking the Happiness Habit
We know what to do to keep ourselves physically fit. Wellness has been on the agenda long enough for us to identify good habits vs bad habits. But what of our internal lives?We can get so caught up in striving for more, whether it’s status or wealth that we frequently miss the key ingredients for happiness. Contentment and longevity, it seems, are not wrapped up in ‘stuff’.
It’s difficult to imagine now the expectations of the scientists in the 1930s. Today we look at health and wellness through a very different lens. The last twenty years has produced a wealth of data from positive psychology, neuroscience and life sciences. The Harvard results, though, may surprise you.
Relationships, relationships, relationships
The researchers found that satisfaction with relationships in midlife turned out to be a predictor of healthy aging and longevity. Hooray for positive relationships, being part of a community and feeling happy with those around you.
Mood Hoovers. Bad for your day. Bad for your health
- You always feel depleted or drained around them.
- Often you play down your achievements so that you don’t upset them.
- You find yourself walking on eggshells for fear of turning yourself into their latest target.
- You’re always the one giving.
- They don’t listen to you.
- You dread any interaction with them.
If you recognise some of your relationships, think about how you can start to change that dynamic. Are you able to limit the time you spend around that person? Is it time to have an honest conversation? Is the most honest thing you can do to end the relationships now? It could be time to move on and create more positive relationships in your life. Your health may depend upon it.