What is the source of true happiness? Philosophers, scientists, psychologists, and spiritualists have been seeking the answer to this question for countless years. On asking this question to ordinary people, most of them claimed that it is wealth, fame, and recognition that can make them happy. But can all the rich and famous be called happy? Human psychology is so complex that we have been unable to discern what really can make us happy.
Social connections are really good for us:
Loneliness kills. People who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community are happier, healthier, and live longer than people who are less well connected. The experience of loneliness is toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.
Quality of relationships matters:
Having numerous relationships is not the key to a happy and healthy life. The kind of bond you share and the depth of the relationship are what matters. The participants of the study who were in warm and loving marriages live/lived healthier and happier lives. In contrast, those who had constant conflicts and arguments in their marriage led unhappy lives and their health also didn’t fare too well.
Good relationships protect our minds:
The positive effects of good relationships are not limited to happiness and health. Good relationships also protect our minds. The participants who had been good and reliable relationships showed that their brains stayed sharper longer those who had been lonely or were in bad relationships.
Living in conflict is bad for our health:
High-conflict marriages, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in good, warm relationships is protective.