Healthspan Blog

Long healthspans mean happy lives

There is only time for loving – Harvard study predicts good health at 80 with good relationships at 50

18th June 2017

There isn’t time — so brief is life — for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. there is only time for loving — & but an instant, so to speak, for that.
– Mark Twain (letter to Clara Spaulding, 20 August 1886)

A 75 year Harvard study found that “good relationships keep as happier and healthier.” The study follows two groups of men (724 total). One group studied at Harvard just before WW2. The other group were poor teens from Boston.

Some main points:

Social connections to family, friends, and community = more happy, more healthy, longer life.
Loneliness = less happy, less healthy, shorter life.

How content people were with their relationships at 50 predicted their health at 80. Health factors (like cholesterol at 50) did not predict happiness. Closer relationships seem to hold off memory loss.

Quality matters. High conflict marriages are bad for your health. Bickering is fine if the people can really count on each other.

Throughout life, lean into quality relationships.

After retirement, you should replace work-mates with play-mates.

Here is the TED talk:

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