Study shows that strong relationships might help us live longer - and be happier


What is the key to happiness?

This simple question has plagued the minds of philosophers, academics and lifestyle gurus for millennia, but a recent study conducted by Harvard University researchers and reported on by IFL Science might have brought us the answer.

Perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t lie in success, nor does it lie in fame or money. Instead, research shows that it’s all about building a network of strong relationships.

Explaining further at a recent TED talk, study director Robert Waldinger stated:

The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.

Interestingly, 268 male participants have been surveyed continuously over the last 80 years as part of the Harvard Second Generation Study, which has since been expanded to incorporate their wives.

Not only were their failures, successes, medical records and love lives meticulously documented, the recent advancement of technology has also seen the survey modified to include comprehensive health profiles created through DNA tests and MRI scans.

The results showed that the maintenance of healthy relationships is as important, if not more so, than health physical health – to the extent that relationships were deemed a better indication than cholesterol levels.

If anything, the study offers a vital yet uplifting message:

Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.

h/t IFL Science

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