"What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness", a 2017 TED Talk on YouTube. (~12 minutes of video) "The clearest message that we get from this 75 year study is this — good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period. We've learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected — to family, to friends, to community — are happier, they're physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in mid-life, their brain function declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. ... The second big lesson that we learned is that it's not just the number of friends you have, and it's not whether or not you're in a committed relationship, it's the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. ... And the third lesson that we learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don't just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely-attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who in relationships where they can really feel that they can count on the other person in times of need, those people's memory stay sharper, longer."
January 2023 interview on All Things Considered. (~8 minutes of audio, or a ~1300 word transcript) "We found that the strongest predictors of who not just stayed happy but who was healthy as they went through life - the strongest predictors were the warmth and the quality of their relationships with other people. ... We get benefits from all of those kinds of relationships [friends, spouses, coworkers], including the person who makes our coffee for us in the morning, including the person who delivers our mail. We get little hits of well-being in all these different kinds of relationships."
NYTimes article from 2023. (~1200 words) "From all the data, one very clear finding has emerged: Strong relationships are what make for a happy life. More than wealth, I.Q. or social class, it’s the robustness of our bonds that most determines whether we feel fulfilled. ... If you’re going to do one thing this year to ensure your own health and happiness, the authors maintain, find the time to nurture and develop relationships. ... Ample research shows that people who are more socially connected live longer and are more protected against stress, depression and declines in memory and language."
April 2017 article on news.harvard.edu. (~1700 words) "Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. That finding proved true across the board among both the Harvard men and the inner-city participants."