In today’s fast paced world, it’s hard to prioritize on the important things in life. Splitting your focus on work, family and checking your social media every 5 minutes can be very exhausting. But just who should we turn to when we seek to learn what to prioritize? Well, science of course.
The experts at Harvard have been conducting an intensive study for 75 years called the Grant and Glueck Study. This study has been tracking the physical and emotional well-being of two populations in Boston for 75 years! The Grant study was conducted from 1939 to 2014, and collected data from around 450 poor men living in Boston. The Glueck study studied almost 300 male graduates from Harvard from 1939-1944.
It was one looong study
Many researchers had taken part of the study from the generations to come. Before WWII, the scientists only researched blood samples, took brain scans (once they were invented), conducted hundreds of surveys and personally interacted with the men they were researching, in order to collect as much information as possible. This required long hours, devotion and a strong focus from all of the researchers. But what they found will cause you jaw to drop…
The study was worth it
After collecting various data from all of the participants for many years, they concluded to one most important thing that people should prioritize in order to live a health, fulfilling life. So what was the secret? It resulted in one strong answer according to Robert Waldinger, the director of the study Adult Development at Harvard, that surpasses anything else. The one secret to live a fulfilling life is to build healthy and happy relationships. Period.
Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Nothing else is as important. Not your pension plan, the number of your social media followers, the conferences you spoke at, the promotion you received at work, the energy that you invested to take yourself to higher working positions or even the number of tech companies you own.
Nothing else, but love. Basically it’s love that keeps up fulfilled in life. The data also showed that the participants who were lonely had a declining physical well-being and died younger. The study also states that having someone to rely on when you’re anxious helps calm you down and causes the nervous system to relax. This helps stabilize your emotions and leads to a healthier brain.
Numbers aren’t important
Waldinger went on to say that the number of friends isn’t important, rather it’s whether you’re in a committed relationship. The quality of your relationships matter. A Harvard psychiatrist who took a leading role in the study from 1972 to 2004 found two monumental elements to this finding: One way is love and the other is simply coping through life and push love away if you don’t find a way.
If you are in love and undergo an emotional issue like losing a parent or losing a job, and you don’t deal with that issue, you end up coping with life a pushing love away.
Try to deal with your emotional issues by getting a therapist, joining a therapy group or any other way that will help you deal with them.
So, the next time you’re on your phone during dinner with your partner, or staying up late to work instead of going out with your friend, or you choose to work on Sunday morning instead of going to the farmers market with your cousin, I suggest you make a different decision.
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