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The Massive 75-Year Study Shares 3 Secret Recipes To Genuine Happiness With Us

The Massive 75-Year Study Shares 3 Secret Recipes To Genuine Happiness With Us

Social butterflies are scientifically more likely to live healthier and happier lives.  This statement is supported by a Harvard study that lasted 75-years (1938-2013) led by a well-known psychiatrist named Robert Waldinger.  The implication is that isolation, staying to oneself on a regular basis, can actually make you sick.

Happiness is an ever-elusive goal for many people.  It is also one of our major pursuits as humans.  Countless movies, books and visual images reflect our tendency as humans to chase a sense of happiness.

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However, factors such as economics, transportation, social support and outlook on life are just a few criteria that can affect a person’s health and happiness.  Other considerations include diet, sleep schedule and mental health.  The Waldinger study, however, sought to prove that happiness was more easily achieved through relationships.  And although happiness is a subjective term open to interpretation by each individual, it is safe to assume a positive life outlook, coupled with balanced mental health, good nutrition and balanced sleep diet patterns to support a person’s happiness and health.

Lessons about Happiness

1. Happiness is achieved through close relationships

Spending time with people we care about and enjoy is one way to dispel feelings of loneliness. The Social and Personality Psychology Compass journal says biologically we are social by nature and want to be around other people.  Over time, being around with people we can form relationships.  When this happens, we increase our sense of wellness that lasts an entire lifetime.  Our wellness is connected to long-term memory, diet and healthy sleep patterns.

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What to do:  If you are seeking to form new, close relationships, try attending events that reflect your personal interests.  Museums are a great way to drink in beauty while meeting like-minded individuals.  Also, regularly visiting sacred spaces for spiritual renewal can draw us to form close relationships with others who have similar interests.

2. Happiness is achieved through quality relationships, not quantity

The more intimate and strong a relationship, the better it is for someone’s health. A Harvard Health Publication points out relationships that satisfy the mind, body, soul connection promote good health and longer lives.  We can reduce the levels of stress in the body through social connections.  In fact, even if a person smokes, the chances of them dying early is reduced if they have quality, strong relationships, the Harvard report says.

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What to do:  Social gatherings are an opportunity to groom relationships.  If you feel a liking to someone or a group of people, arrange a social gathering for quality time together.  Plan an event that reflects common interests for an opportunity to sit, chat and chew good food.  This is an opportunity to groom quality relationships.

3. Happiness is achieved through stable, supportive relationships

Any old relationship just won’t do. The chances of increased happiness occur when a relationships is positive, free of drama and supportive.  So not only is isolation bad for our health, so are toxic relationships.  Our survival as humans, the Social and Personality Psychology Compass report says, is connected to our ability to shun hostile external situations and gravitate to hospitable and friendly connections.  This is especially true in marriages as several reports state.

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What to do:  Seek out positive people.  Listen to what people say and determine whether their outlook on life is positive or negative.  If you try to steer conversations toward positive thoughts and acts, but a person keeps returning to the negative, think about how their words impact your sense of happiness and wellness.  The same is true for connecting with people who show signs of stability in their personal and professional lives.  These kind of supportive relationships allow us to survive, reproduce and experience happiness.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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