This is the number 1 factor that makes us happy, according to a Harvard study
What is happiness? This feeling is very personal and depends on many factors, but scientists and experts in social sciences do not stop worrying about how to achieve that state of joy and satisfaction with one’s life and to look for suitable ones are the factors that are most repeated in the search of happiness.
Researchers at Harvard University embarked 85 years ago on an investigation to try to answer these questions. To do this, they collected health records from 724 participants from around the world and asked them detailed questions about their lives at two-year intervals. Now the results are available and, although it may seem strange, neither professional achievements, nor money, nor exercise or healthy eating are the main responsible for our happiness.
What then is the factor that most influences our happiness? Nothing more and nothing less than our social life or our social and sentimental relationships. Be careful, here it must be specified that the focus does not lie in quantity, but in quality.
Relationships affect us even physically, as well as sentimentally. To improve our state of happiness it is important, then, that our social relationships are of quality. To do this, you have to practice what researchers call ‘social fitness’: relationships do not take care of themselves, they are a living system that needs exercise and attention.
How to evaluate our social life to be happy
Thus, to improve in our search for happiness, we must take care of friendship and sentimental relationships so that they are as healthy as possible. From time to time, of course, it will be necessary to review what state they are in and, for this, doctors and Harvard researchers Robert Waldinger and Marc Shulz propose to ask the following questions about the role that each person plays in our lives.
Security and protection: who would you turn to in a moment of crisis? Learning and growth: who supports us to pursue our life goals? do you feel? Shared identity and experience: is there someone in your life who has shared many experiences with you? Romantic intimacy: are you satisfied with the amount and quality of romantic intimacy you have? who makes you feel connected and at ease?
We must draw a table with these questions heading the columns and placing the people we answer about in each row. If the person provides us with that function or sensation, we will mark a + in the corresponding box. If not, we will mark a-, keeping in mind that not all relationships offer the same type of support.
This exercise helps us see what kind of relationships we have and what each person around us brings us. In addition, it will make it easier for us to see if we have some kind of lack: for example, many people to go out with, but few to call in case of having a serious problem.
In this way, we will be able to see what state our social life is in, where we should improve or even if we drag someone into our life because they have known us for a long time, but that is not beneficial for our emotional health.