Key To Lasting Happiness | Having Quality Relationships
Harvard University did a study in 1938 to follow 724 teenagers for 85 years to find the keys to lasting happiness. Every two years for eight decades, they asked each person what contributed to their current happiness.
What researchers found was somewhat surprising. It was NOT money, IQ, social class, fame, physique, etc. Consistently, they found "having quality relationships" was the single biggest predictor of present and future happiness. This study leads to consider three happiness (out of seven) recommendations suggested by New York times writer, Jancee Dunn. I break down the first three recommendations below:
In order to have better quality relationships over a lifetime we need to:
1) Measure how the quality of our relationships makes us feel. Do you really have enough quality relationships (friends, family, romantic, etc.) to make you feel happy and joyful day to day?
2) Have an 8 minute phone call with friends and family on a regular basis to stay connected. Yes, we are busy but can we really be happy not connecting with others at all. According to the New York Times article, 8 minutes is enough to persuade even a reluctant communicator to pick up the phone and connect.
3) Initiate small talk with acquaintances and strangers to improve day to day interactions and happiness. We can, instead, opt to look at our cell phones but talking with people about even superficial things (the weather, sports, decorations, the menu, etc.) helps us feel connected with the community and even make new friends.
To learn the following four recommendations for increasing happiness, read this article which discusses day four (Writing a living eulogy) where you thank special people for what they have done for you.
I pray this helps encourage, motivate and activate you to connect with people to build strong relationships. I want you to be happy and pray this drives you to do so.