Harvard scientists reveal the key to happiness after 75 years of research
We all spend our lives searching for happiness and it comes to us in a variety of different ways. For some people, happiness will arrive in the shape of something physical; like a pair of sneakers that you've wanted for months, but could never really afford. For others it might be an experience, something like a holiday to somewhere that is on your bucket list, for example. But while these examples are temporary and will fill your happiness quota for just a matter of weeks or months, how do we get a lifetime of happiness? After all, that's what we're all here for.
This is the question that has been bugging a group of scientists at Havard University for decades. And after 75 years of research, the group believe that they may have finally cracked it.
75 years ago, the Study of Adult Development at the Havard Medical School, also known as the Grant Study, was founded and since its inception, it has now gone on to be the longest-running study on human happiness to have ever existed.
The scientists involved in the study were tasked into looking at what it was that enhanced the wellbeing of an individual, rather than what it was that deteriorated it - which tends to be a more common topic of study.
Over the 75 years, the scientists tracked the lives of 724 men, catching up with them on a yearly basis to see how they were coping with every area of their daily lives. Of the original 724 men who began the research, only 60 are still alive today.
The men were picked from two different groups in society: one group included sophomore students at Havard in 1938, when the study initially began. The second group was made of up children from one of the poorest areas in Boston, who lived in poverty-stricken surroundings.
In order to obtain information about their lives, the scientists performed a variety of different research methods, including; interviewing the subjects, sending them questionnaires, scanning their brains, taking blood samples, studying their medical records and talking to their families.
Over time, they decided to integrate the men's wives and children into the research, expanding their results further and producing some startling results.
According to the revolutionary research, which was the first of its kind in the world, the biggest discovery was that "good relationships keep us happier and healthier."
The results found that those who were experiencing unhappy relationships were either more lonely or more likely to suffer from pain, discontent and lead an unhealthy lifestyle.
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, who is the current director of the study, detailed the findings of the research in a TED Talk in 2016, which you can see below.
As the old saying goes, "money can't buy you happiness" and it seems that there is more to life than just material wealth. While that notion was something that the majority of us believed to be true already, we now have science to back it up.