What does it take to find long-term happiness? This is a question many people may ask themselves. Is happiness the new car, finally owning our own home, having the perfect job, or having a million dollars in the bank?

Harvard has one of the longest studies, the Harvard Study of Adult Development[1]. The study started in 1938 and is still ongoing. The study followed the lives of 724 men for over 80 years and asked annually about their work, home lives, and health. The men involved answered questionnaires, were interviewed in their homes, had blood drawn, their brains scanned, provided medical records, and researchers talked with their children.

With this study, there were three key points about relationships that were a good prediction of how happy and healthy they were as they aged:[2]

  • Loneliness shortens life
  • Quality was more important than quantity
  • Good relationships are good for the brain

Recommendations to help achieve a happier and healthier life, from the information in this study include:

  • Have a routine and scheduled night out with a friend, spouse, or significant other
  • Give family and/or close friends undivided attention doing something together
  • Work on replacing some of your social media time with a personal connection
  • Reach out to a friend or relative that might be isolated or alone
  • Re-connect with a once-close friend you haven’t talked with in years

Learn more:

A Key to Long-Term Happiness. [Internet] Available from: https://www.ardmoreinstituteofhealth.org/news/a-key-to-long-term-happiness

[1] https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/

[2] https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/want-to-be-truly-happy-harvard-researchers-say-this-is-the-one-thing-you-absolut.html