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What's The One Thing Everyone Needs To Be Happy? 75-Year Harvard Study Finds The Answer

The Harvard Grant Study, followed 268 Harvard students for 75 years, collecting data on their lives. What is impressive is that the conclusions about happiness were the same for all participants.

The answer to happiness seems simple, but it’s scientifically true: healthy relationships are the key to a happy and fulfilling life.

The study’s most important finding is that the only thing that matters in life is relationships, said the principal researcher, George Vaillant. A man could have a successful career, money and good physical health, but without supportive, loving relationships, he wouldn’t be happy (“Happiness is only the cart; love is the horse.”).

The good news is, we can always change the quality of our relationships and our life. The study showed that regardless of how we begin life, we can all become happier. Whether you have faced a difficult childhood, divorce or death, you always have the choice to make your situation better and begin building strong loving relationships in life – whether with family, close friends or a significant other.

Whether single, divorced or widowed, what mattered most was not a person’s relationship status, career success or wealth but rather the quality and warmth of a person’s relationships, regardless of the type or status of those relationships.

A man named Godfrey Minot Camille went into the Grant study with fairly bleak prospects for life satisfaction: He had the lowest rating for future stability of all the subjects and he had previously attempted suicide. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest. Why? As Vaillant explains, “He spent his life searching for love.”

Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”

What can we learn from the world’s longest study on happiness? Strong, loving relationships are the answer to happiness. And it’s never too late to find happiness.

*To hear an awesome Ted Talk on the Study, click here: Ted Talk Harvard Happiness Study.

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Comments

I agree totally and there was a study by a Dr Hornish linking even weight loss to love and relationships, also a Ted Talk it’s fascinating. I’ve spent my young 47 years 20 of which as a professional focusing on this because of my family dynamics, losing my Dad early at age 27, bc of a car crash and my balance to not be co dependent bc that’s not love that’s the opposite, that’s fear…. I love the example of the man who spent his life searching for love because to me what I’m finding is that it’s always there, it just manifests itself in different ways… And it’s just as important to show as it is to seek it. It’s both intuitive and a learned skill, the tools I think for navigating including: being vulnerable trusting loving your self to set boundaries and forgiving yourself and others… With some souls you connect instantly those are your soul mates , others you have to peel back layers. I let a friend go after years of just too much back and forth and bc I decided to honor me and needed boundaries… It’s actually made for a much better relationship bc I no longer wait for her to change, I focus on her good points and bc I love her but can’t change her, it works to take her in smaller doses and that’s ok with me. Another friend, whom I adore refuses to let me smother him, that used to anger me bc he’s so wonderful, but then I realized that just like I can feel when someone is trying to make me the source of their supply, others can feel it when I’m doing it, that’s not love that’s co-dependence. I think I’m still working out my definition for love and how to get it and keep it, I think it’s just like the sun, it’s always there, even when its cloudy and in that knowing a person shouldn’t be anxious for it but comforted in knowing that it’s there you have it, and will have more…. Be open and receptive and positive and yes in search knowing that if you knock the door shall be opened…. Just be open to receive
Beautiful comment Carla and great insight. Thank you so much for sharing.
I have to agree 100% my friend. All what matters is having good relationships. Love, friendships, etc. very well written and I love the pictures!
Thanks Eudie! xoxo
Couldn’t have said it better! I agree 100%. Without love there is nothing…. Not only good relationships at home but also at work! It allows you to wake up every morning motivated and challenged.
I agree! Good relationships can be found anywhere and are important everywhere.
Agree that successful loving relationships enhance one’s sense of happiness and would add that having “something to be excited about” is another key. Having a passion, a sense of mission or purpose, a reason to get out of bed and do something great each day, will also enhance happiness… and lead to more successful loving relationships that will naturally develop as a result of the pursuit of your passion.
Well said. Thanks for your comment Scott.
This is so true!
I agree completely! Then again, I wrote the blog :)

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