What’s the real secret to happiness? Way back in 1938, researchers from Harvard decided to find out. They started work on a decades-long study to find out what makes us happy in life.
They analyzed health records of 724 people from all over the world and interviewed them every two years, asking detailed questions about their personal lives. And after 85 years, researchers have learned it’s not money, exercise, career success or a healthy diet that makes us happy. It’s positive relationships that keep us healthier, happier and even help us live longer.
The Harvard study authors conclude that the biggest key to a happy life is “social fitness.” We tend to think our friendships and romantic relationships will just kind of take care of themselves, but our social lives need exercise to keep them going strong. Social fitness is about taking stock of relationships and being honest about how we devote our time and foster our connections to loved ones. To help you thrive, those relationships need attention, so don’t be afraid to reach out to the people in your life, no matter how long it’s been.