This age-old question has many facets depending on who you ask.
This age-old question has many facets depending on who you ask. Many believe that happiness and joy will come from having a successful career. For others, its financial wealth and security. And for some, it comes from having loving family and friends.
According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest running study of 75 years, led by psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger, the answer to having a good life is about having good relationships.
He shares three life lessons from his ongoing research:
- Social connections are really good for us and loneliness kills
- The quality of your close relationships matter more than quantity
- Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains
Take a look at Dr. Waldinger’s Ted Talk: Lessons from the longest study on happiness.
Here is another resource on social wellness to be easily digestible:
- Make connections - join a hobby group, do volunteer work
- Take care of yourself while caring for others - get organized, take breaks, ask for help
- Get active together - start a walking group with friends
- Bond with your kids/family - spend intentional time in activities
- Build healthy relationships - recognize how other people influence you, ask for what you need from others
- Shape your family’s health habits - be a role model, make healthy choices easy
Another important point about social wellness and fostering healthy relationships is boundaries.
Brene Brown, American professor, author and researcher on shame and vulnerability said this about boundaries: “We cannot connect with someone unless we’re clear about where we end and where they begin. If there’s no autonomy between people, then there’s no compassion or empathy, just enmeshment.”
Here’s another resource on setting healthy boundaries.
Here’s to happy, healthy, and meaningful connections with each other!