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75-Year Study: Good Relationships Keep Us Happier and Healthier

From Harvard Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, edited by Andrew John Harrison.

Ask most young people what they want from life and they will tell you money and fame. Landmark 75-year study of what actually matters reveals lessons that aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get is this:

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

Harvard’s Grant & Glueck study tracked the physical and emotional well-being of 268 male graduates from Harvard, as well as 456 poor men growing up in Boston from 1939 to 2014. Multiple generations of researchers analyzed brain scans, blood samples, self-reported surveys and interactions of these men to compile their findings.

The conclusions are simple. Close relationships can make or break a person’s well-being, according to Robert Waldinger, Harvard professor of psychology and director of the center that sponsored the study.

The study reveals the following lessons:

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