The Most Important Ingredient In The Happiness Recipe!
By Harley M. Storey
It's the middle of the night and you're in the cold, dark desert alone - in the distance you can hear wolves howling and bears growling. Positive relationships are like a ring of fires around you:
- They keep you warm.
- They protect you.
- They're beautiful.
Years ago when I had roommates, I saw a documentary about Temple Grandin. She was one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to talk publicly about her experience of autism. She invented the "hug box" - a machine that looks like a mattress folded in half. When you lie in it, it squeezes you like a hug.
They also mentioned in the documentary that although both gender's brains share feminine and masculine qualities, men's brains are more wired to understand systems and women's for relationships. I've wondered if perhaps this is why men die earlier than women - maybe because women are much better at establishing and maintaining relationships?
A Harvard study currently led by Robert Waldinger tracked 700 men over the course of 75 years. What was the most important "life satisfaction" factor above wealth, health and social status? Warmth of relationships throughout life.
Waldinger added that, “over 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”
As if to make this point in reverse, there is also an unexpected jump in suicide statistics for older and recently retired men. Men over the age of 65 commit suicide at almost triple the overall rate.
I'm wondering if this may be because so much of men's identity and relationships revolve around their work, and when they retire they feel useless, lose their social network and their reason to get out of bed?
A study on happiness was recently undertaken in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Broadly speaking, we have a population mix of native Maori, European colonizers, Pacific people and Asian migrants. Of these four groups, one was 40% happier than the others. Which group?
The group that prioritized family relationships and were most likely to live in extended family units - Pacific people. The result of all this is something that women seem to know instinctively and men need to understand, learn and remember …
Positive Relationships = Happiness!
Do you want to be happier in your life? Invest in your relationships!