Lessons Learned from the Longest Study on Happiness

The Harvard Study of Adult Development may be the most comprehensive study ever conducted, as it followed its participants for their entire adult lives. The study was started in Boston in 1938 and has already covered three generations: grandparents, parents, and children, who are now considered “baby boomers.” The study has allowed the analysis of more than 2000 people throughout 85 years of longitudinal study.

The study’s happiest participants had two major factors in common throughout its 85 years: taking care of their health and building loving relationships with others.

The happiest people valued and fostered relationships.

Loneliness is increasingly common in our society today. Loneliness creates challenges when dealing with stressful situations. It is essential to have someone with whom we can vent our anxieties and thoughts with. The study demonstrated that maintaining social connections requires constant practice. Friendships and relationships need regular commitment to keep them from fizzling out. A simple telephone call or meeting up for a coffee can help. Participating in activities that bring joy and encourage camaraderie, such as sports, hobbies, and volunteer work, may broaden the relationship network.

Social media can contribute to isolation and it is important to understand that social media posts almost always show the positive side of people’s lives and suggests that everyone lives worry-free. However, the truth is that no one’s life is free of difficulties and challenges.

Social skills contribute to our resilience to meet and overcome life’s challenges and difficulties.

This study highlights the importance of having social skills and always cultivating our relationships to help us become healthier, overcome challenging moments, and achieve the happiness that we all desire.

It is time to put down your phone for a few minutes and have a conversation with someone you care about.

Why not start today?