3 Secrets To Genuine Happiness According To A Harvard Psychiatrist
The key to genuine happiness is unfortunately not an object that is too likely to be served on a satin cushion before us, or bought in a store together with the daily milk and a box of eggs.
The only problem with happiness is not just that the key to genuine happiness is hard to find, but also the confusing struggle with the mere definition of the word. What is the happiness, after all? Everyone wants it, everyone seeks for it, everyone wants to capture it and keep it forever, but what is it really?
For it’s very difficult to even define happiness, we can only imagine how complicated it would be to study it. However, a group of Harvard scientists did just that. With the psychiatrist Robert J. Waldinger as the director of one of the longest studies of adult life ever conducted – Harvard Study of Adult Development, some key elements to genuine happiness became much clearer and presented to us in a recent TED talk.
The longitudinal study was being carried out for 75 years on two cohorts of white men, with the researchers surveying them every two years on various segments of their life (marriage quality, job satisfaction, social activities) and monitoring the participants’ physical health (through various medical tests).
The study resulted in one major finding: the key to genuine happiness lies in good and stable relationships, which make us both happier and healthier.
These are the 3 keys to genuine happiness
#1 Close relationships
Close relationships were proven to be crucial to genuine happiness – the men who reported closer relations to their family, friends and community tended to live a happier, healthier and longer lives than the less social participants of the study.
#2 It’s the quality, and not the quantity of relationships that matters
They also found that it is the quality, and not the quantity of relationships that matters – at least when it comes to people in their 30-s. On the other side, the younger people in their 20-s found the number of relationships more important.
#3 Stable and supportive marriage
Finally, it is also a stable and supportive marriages that lead to genuine happiness, says the study. With the memory tests performed, the study concluded that the strong social connections positively affected both physical and mental health. Married people who never separated, divorce or had any ‘serious problem’s until the age of 50, performed better on tests later in life than those in opposite situation.