Hey, Andy Brown here, I want to take a second and just talk to you about one of the things that could possibly be one of the most important areas of focus for you if you are looking for the the longest, happiest, healthiest life possible. So I just was reading today about this amazing study called the Harvard Study of Adult Development. And this study looks at what makes people live the longest and be the happiest. And it’s an incredible study because it’s in its seventh year, which is very long for this kind of study.
And one of the things that this study has found is that the single most important thing that we as human beings can do to increase our lifespan, help ourselves be even physically more healthy, is to have deep, meaningful relationships. So, you know, people ask me sometimes like why I do what I do in counseling. This is why, because I want to live the happiest, healthiest, longest life possible and I want to help other people do that as well.
So the reason I love coming across this study was they starting in Harvard, they took a group of guys from Harvard and a group of guys from a lower income area in Boston, and they started studying them in 1938. Right. They looked at everything from brain function. They drew their blood.
They listen to conversations with their wives. They asked them about their careers. And over the course of 75 years, they find three big things.
Number one, they find that social connections are good for us. OK, that literally without relationships, we die. Loneliness literally kills. They found that people who are less connected than they wanted to be socially were less happy. They had lower brain function and their lives were actually statistically shorter. So they they were able to to find from that this study then that the thing that affects even our physical health is emotionally steady relationships where we are confident of the connection that we have with people and we’re not afraid of those people abandoning or leaving us.
And there is a good, strong bond in that relationship.
OK, so the second thing that they find out is that it’s not necessarily the number of relationships, but it’s the quality of relationships. So we don’t have to have a million friends, but we have to have some friends. We have to have some social network that is strong and supports us throughout our lives. The third thing that they found was that the people who were the most satisfied in the relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. So the reason I’m saying all this is because when we talk about counseling, one of the most important things you can do is focus on improving your relationships, whether it be a marriage or friendships social network.
This is one of the things that counseling can do and counselors can help you with. So, you know, whether you come to me or you’re looking for another counselor, seriously consider what you’re doing with your social relationships, how you’re pursuing people, what kind of time and energy you’re investing in these relationships, because it is literally a life or death matter.