Dr. Ben Hardy, author and Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Psychology, recently blogged the key findings of a 75-year Harvard University Study on the key contributors to human happiness. Here is his summary of that study’s findings:
Build and maintain transformational relationships
The clearest finding of the study was that good relationships keep us healthier and happier, period. Even childhood trauma and other significant negative events in life can be overcome if there is someone to help you recover and move forward with life – someone that you love and that you know loves you, unconditionally. The study even made the following bold statement, “…the lack of positive social relationships constitutes a major health risk factor that rivals cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of physical activity.”
The study also found that expressions of gratitude have a powerful effect on oneself and others, increasing one’s self-worth, confidence, interpersonal skills and the ability to cope with challenges.
Live for something beyond yourself
Victor Frankl, the great psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor stated that “happiness cannot be pursued; it comes from giving yourself to a cause(s) beyond yourself and is the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or to a person other than yourself.”
Take some time this summer to do a personal audit of your happiness and reflect on what you are doing each day to be a friend to others; to begin each day with gratitude and to live with passion – for a cause or person(s) other than yourself. In doing so, you will help rebuild our society and contribute to your own happiness and well being!