What makes a happy life?

In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. 
Andy Warhol

A recent survey asked this question to young people who are at their teens. 80% said getting rich and 50% said becoming famous! What kind of a message those kids are getting to believe that to be happy they need to be either rich or famous or both!

I will give you a hint: We are living in a society which constantly pushes us to work harder, do better, achieve more. More is not enough. We want more and more and more…. But the question is Would working harder, achieving more, becoming rich and famous make us happy and keep us happy?

The longitudinal study that took over 75 years (started in 1938) and is currently led by Harvard University’s Robert Waldinger on what makes a good life revealed some contradicting results to the popular belief in the society.

In a nutshell, what makes us happy is good relationships! As simple as that! Not a rocket science!

It is quality of the relationships that makes and keeps us happy and healthy! It’s not about the number of friends we have or whether or not we’re in a committed relationship. On the contrary being in a high-conflict relationship without much affection is very bad for our both physical and mental health. And in some cases it might be worse than getting divorced. So settling for someone or trying to have more friends just because you don’t want to be alone might cause you more harm than being alone.

Good quality relationships provide us with security and just physically, but mentally, too. Knowing we have someone we can count on during the tough times keeps us happier and healthier. And good relationships do not come in a pink, happy package! People can experience conflicts from time to time. But as long as both parties know that they could rely on the other person for support.

So, being happy and healthy in life are not dependent on how much money we make, how many friends we have, what type of car we drive. But it is dependent on the quality of our relationship(s).

The question now is how can we have good quality relationships so that we feel our life is complete, happy and healthy? I will talk about it in next week’s post.