How Your Relationships May Actually Keep You Alive Longer


It’s easy to forget how much influence people have on us throughout our life. Think about it— we have family, friends, co-workers and even people we may briefly pass in the hallway, all of whom could be our greatest asset or our greatest inhibitor to you reaching our highest self.

There is scientific research that points to the old adage “you are the average of the five people you most associate with,” as completely true. Your source of happiness may very well derive from the people that you associate with on a daily basis.

There is an important correlation between happiness and human connection. Humans are naturally communicative species and constantly crave connection. There is evidence from a Harvard University study to support the claim that meaningful relationships actually create happier and healthier lives.

Led by psychologist Robert Waldingner, the Harvard study to this day still remains the longest human study in history. It tracked the lives of 724 men over the course of 75 years. The study included medical exams, drawing blood, brain scanning, and interviewing the men’s children. The clearest message derived from the collected data was that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier, period.”

It turns out the individuals in the study who were more socially connected to family, friends and communities were happier, physically healthier and lived longer than people who are less well connected. The study also showed that individuals who were more isolated experienced loneliness, and ultimately were “less happy.” Additionally, their health declined sooner, their brain functioning weakened, and had a shorter life span than people who were more connected with meaningful relationships.

Meaningful relationships protect not only our bodies but also our brains. The study concluded that meaningful social connections actually keep us alive.

We must focus less on material things and concentrate more on meaningful relationships with family, friends and community because focusing on the friends and family you trust and care about will actually keep you happier and healthier. The good life is built with good relationships.

This extraordinary study shed light on the importance of being aware of the people that you surround yourself with every day. Take a minute and look at the last five text messages or calls on your phone and think about the individuals in your life that you are closest to. They may be your family, friends or significant others but whomever, they may be, it’s imperative that you began to see them as an actual component and even a source of your overall wellbeing and even happiness.

Are these people inhibiting your success in life or are they motivating you towards your greatest potential? We must be very careful about who we spend our precious time with and energy on.

As you begin to look at many of your relationships in a new light, be conscious of the people you allow into your life. Make sure they are adding value to your goals, desires and overall success and more importantly, make sure they contributing to your overall health, as these connections may very well keep you alive longer. Living a life of abundant happiness, first starts with meaningful relationships— friends, family and community.

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