The Capacity Of Intimate Relationships Predicts All Aspects Of Life

PBS_BraincraftPublished: February 22, 2018Updated: February 26, 201812 views
Published: February 22, 2018Updated: February 26, 2018

What's the key to happiness and life satisfaction? One study followed a group of people for more than seventy years to find out. Watch this video and find out what they discovered!

Can you think of one thing that could make you happy over the course of your life, which does not include tacos and Harry Potter. Think of something that could actually sustain your happiness for many years. You can say anything you like, but to measure it scientifically we would have to study your regular integrals for most of your life. Luckily, that study has already been done.

The Harvard Grant Study began in 1938 and it followed 268 male undergraduate students for more than seventy years. They planned to track them over their entire lives, so they can measure a lot of psychological and physiological traits like their personality, IQ, and the function of their major organs. Because it was so huge it had so many findings like your financial success is more dependent on the warmth of your relationship than intelligence. And cigarette smoking was the single greatest factor that contributed to the men’s deaths.

When George Vaillant, the lead researcher of this study for more than 30 years, was asked what was the single greatest finding from it, he said it was the capacity of the intimate relationships that predicted flourishing in all aspects of the men’s lives, concluding that happiness is love.

What these seventy years of research suggest is ‘love is all you need’, which is what The Beatles sang about, but it doesn’t necessarily mean having a long relationship or marriage with a partner. The study looked at the men’s relationship with their parents and how that affected them over the course of their lives. The men who had a warmer relationship with their mothers as a child earned an average of $87,000 a year more than those who had an uncaring mother. Those with an uncaring mother were more likely to develop dementia later in life.

The warmth of the men’s relationship with their fathers was correlated with enjoying vacations more and having a life satisfaction at age 75. These findings are super-interesting. Of course correlation doesn’t equal causation. Watch this video and share your comments on this topic below!

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