When your mood dips or you experience tumult in your life there’s a good chance your go to is comfort food, retail therapy or perhaps in a delicious vacation by the sea. Those things won’t make you happy, though, as it turns out your happiness lies in having relationships that are strong and healthy.
That is according to a London School of Economics study (On The Origin Of Happiness, Clark, et al) – love and strong mental health are indicative of bliss versus twice the income. You might be convinced that your unhappiness lies in an empty bank account, but it’s more likely that you are broken emotionally.
Researchers evaluated 200,000 people and identified that it was that emotional brokenness that was fueling unhappiness in participants, not their bank balance.
The Guardian points to a study (Origins of Happiness; Layard, et al) relating to how focusing on money can be detrimental to your mental health, while focusing on overcoming depression, anxiety, and stress is more effective to your health than an influx of money.
The co-author, Professors Richard Layard, told the BBC that the evidence indicates “that the things that matter most for our happiness and for our misery are our social relationships”.
For many years we have tackled the effect of unemployment, a lack of education, poverty, and physical health on mental health. However, there are a lot of other factors to consider, including alcoholic, anxiety, depression, and domestic violence.
Getting a raise at work gives you a boost in happiness, but it’s only a temporary one. It isn’t long before that joy fades and your life goes on. Yet, society has driven us to chase money and then show it off on social media to get likes and shares.
The façade of happiness is all around us, yet how many of these people are really as happy as they purport to be? Moreover, how many of these couples showing off their status on social media are as strong as they want you to believe?
It’s time to stop obsessing over those branded high heels that run into the thousands and start focusing on building connections with people. Those relationships are lasting and you will find support and love in them as you hit life’s obstacles.
While the high heels may look killer with a little black dress they don’t provide you with comfort or listen to you after you have had a bad day.
The Happiness of Relationships
We know that humans are social creatures and physical intimacy plays a large role in that. A meta-analysis of a General Social Survey shows that older couples who regularly enjoy sexual activity not only have happier relationships but are happier in life (Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better; Muise, et al). Of course, sex also relieves stress – so that’s a win across the board.
Another bonus of having strong relationships is that it can add years to your life. That doesn’t just go for romantic relationships either, that’s social and familial relationships, too.
The Beatles said love is all you need and while John Mayer disagreed crooning that the sentiment was a lie it seems as though the former were correct. A Harvard study reviewed data from 75 years and found that healthy relationships are the key to leading a life that is happy and fulfilling.
While this study only included male participants, the authors of the paper believe that it is indicative of the human condition as a whole and not gender related. It’s fair to say that human beings aren’t just social creatures, but they seek love and affection and just love to love.