My first post of the year 2016 is an attempt to explore answers to the question: ‘What leads to happiness in life?’. I recently came across two studies on this subject. It was interesting to see the emergence of a common conclusion.
The first study — Can money buy you happiness? — tells us that beyond meeting the essential needs, money plays little role in making us happy. The study stresses that ‘feeling connected to loved ones’ is an essential ingredient of happiness.
To understand the second study, it is worth listening to Robert Waldinger on TED talks where he shares relevant insights on happiness, based on the Harvard Study of Adult Development. This seems to be the longest study on adult life. The study tracked lives of 724 men for 75 years— exploring answers to—’What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life?’. Two groups of men were constantly studied from their teenage to their old age. The first group comprised Harvard College students; while the second comprised a group of boys from the poorest areas of Boston.
According to Robert Waldinger, “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
It is good to note that you don’t have to be rich to be happy. The poor and not-so-affluent can also be happy. In fact, they generally are!
The most important thing that enables us to keep good relationships is our ability to forgive. Many-a-time, by not forgiving, we let the opportunity to be happy pass us by. I would draw attention to a post I wrote in March last year, If you don’t forgive, you harm yourself.
Let’s pray that we learn to forget and forgive and keep alive the bonds with family and friends. All we need to do is to nurture and sustain relationships —happiness and health will follow suit.