If you said money, fame or looking eternally youthful, you wouldn’t be alone. Yet, according to a 75 year old Harvard study the key findings to long term happiness and health are loving meaningful relationships with partners, friends, family and community.
The big lessons from the study are:
1. Healthy social connections are really good for us. People who are more socially connected are happier, healthier and live longer than people who feel isolated and lonely. People who are less happy live shorter lives and experience declining brain function. Loneliness isn’t a function of being alone, it’s how one feels loved or supported by friends and community. One can be lonely in a crowd of people or in a loveless marriage. It’s not dependant on how many friends you have or if you are in a committed relationship, it’s the quality of your relationships that matter.
Living in conflict is really bad for your health.
High conflict marriages or relationships without love or affection are toxic for your health and much worse than going through a divorce. Many people stay in loveless relationships due to financial insecurities, children or simply the fear of being alone. Healthy loving relationships are protective and good for our mental and emotional wellbeing.
2. The people in their 50’s who are most satisfied with their relationships were the healthiest at age 80. It was also found that people in their 80’s who had happy relationships dealt with physical pain differently than those with emotional pain. They reported that the physical pain was magnified by emotional pain.
3. Good relationships protect our body and brain function and in particular memory. This is consistent with traditional Chinese medicine as the heart is responsible for long term memory. Having secure relationships where you feel you can rely on people has a strong benefit to our health. From an energetic perspective, this support strengthens the base chakra and nurtures the kidneys which is good for vitality and short term memory.
Good relationships are good for our wellbeing – a wisdom that has survived the test of time through the ages and that is still relevant today. This is important to bring into awareness especially as digital technology now dominates our lives. Replacing screen time for people time, refreshing a relationship by experiencing something new together, contacting or visiting friends you keep putting off, spending some time with a love one, talking, sharing, having fun, being present and listening, all develops lasting real connections that sustain us and provides a mutual beneficial healthy relationship that supports our overall wellbeing and enriches our lives.
If having healthy, fulfilling relationships is important to you, Maite Butron and David Flakelar will be facilitating the first of three weekend workshops to help you achieve this important goal. The first workshop on “Friends and Colleagues ” is 18th – 20th October will be in Sydney. Be quick to take advantage of the early bird price and secure your place to these transformational workshops call 0418 407 750 or 0415 567 119.