I recently watched a TED talk about a remarkable study. It’s the longest known study on happiness, tracking more than 700 men over 75 years. The conclusion: happier, healthier, and longer lives was highly correlated with having quality relationships. Some of my takeaways:
- The number of friends is less important than the quality of your closest relationships. Warm relationships protect your happiness and your health. It’s okay to have disagreements, but it’s better (not surprisingly) to leave behind high-conflict relationships. Bickering is okay if it’s with someone you can count on. Arguments don’t take a toll on you in a relationship that delivers long-term value for both of you.
- Good relationships also protect our brains. People who can really count on their friends end up maintaining a sharper memory.
- Relationships can take work, but it’s worth it for quality relationships. Most everyone looks for quick fixes these days, in many areas of life. But people are complicated, so quick fixes can’t be expected, and an investment is warranted for people you can count on.
- If you retire, make sure to spend time with friends. Retirees are found to be happiest when time with new friendships replaces their time with workmates.
- Taking long walks with friends is a great way to spend your time (for the relationship and for the exercise).
What are your experiences? Please join the conversation with your comments…