Happy Relationships are the Key to a Fulfilling Life, According to 75-Year-Long Harvard Study

iStock.com/molchanovdmitry
iStock.com/molchanovdmitry

The key to a fulfilling life has nothing to do with getting ahead at work, making money, or traveling the world. As Fast Company reports, according to a 75-year Harvard study, living your best life and creating meaning is all about one thing: relationships.

The Grant and Glueck study of adult development has been running at Harvard since 1938, and is now on its second generation of participants—the children of the original study’s subjects. The study is actually made up of two different longitudinal research projects. One, originally called the Grant study, recruited 268 participants from Harvard’s classes of 1939 to 1944. The other, the Glueck study, recruited 456 men growing up in working-class neighborhoods in Boston. Over decades, the Harvard research team collected data about their lives, including their physical and mental health, marital status and quality, career happiness, and more.

They found that the most important factor in how happy and healthy these men were over time was their relationships. In other words: Finding fulfillment in life is all about the people you love.

The Grant and Gluck research doesn’t only encompass romantic partnerships and marriage, though. Quality, close relationships are important whether they are in the context of romantic partnerships or intimacy between friends or family members. The kind of relationship you have is less important than how close you feel with them.

The study has one big caveat: It only included men, and there are notable gender differences in how people experience relationships. Some research has suggested that men may benefit more from marriage than women. As a group, men also tend to have a harder time maintaining friendships; surveys have found that men, particularly as they get older, are more likely than women to say they have no one to discuss important subjects with. So it's possible that having close relationships throughout their lives might affect men differently than women.

However, the findings line up with empirical research on the effects of loneliness, which studies have found can drastically impact your health. People who are socially isolated have a greater likelihood of heart attacks and strokes, higher blood pressure, reduced immunity, and chronic inflammation. That’s not to mention the obvious mental health effects. Loneliness has become an important enough topic in the public health world that Great Britain has appointed a government minister dedicated entirely to the topic.

Unfortunately for the youngest generations among us, recent surveys have found that young Americans are lonelier than older generations. That will likely have a big impact on how healthy and fulfilled people feel throughout their lives.

[h/t Fast Company]

From Cocaine to Chloroform: 28 Old-Timey Medical Cures

YouTube
YouTube

Is your asthma acting up? Try eating only boiled carrots for a fortnight. Or smoke a cigarette. Have you got a toothache? Electrotherapy might help (and could also take care of that pesky impotence problem). When it comes to our understanding of medicine and illnesses, we’ve come a long way in the past few centuries. Still, it’s always fascinating to take a look back into the past and remember a time when cocaine was a common way to treat everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids.

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is highlighting all sorts of bizarre, old-timey medical cures. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

Game of Thrones Star Sophie Turner Opened Up About Her Struggles With Depression

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Playing one of the main characters on the most popular show currently on television isn't always as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes, the pressures of fame can be too much. Sophie Turner realized this while playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, and has recently revealed how being in the public eye took a toll on her mental health.

Turner took on the role of Sansa Stark in 2011, when she was just a teenager, and she quickly became a household name. Now, at 23, she's come forward to Dr. Phil on his podcast Phil in the Blanks to explain how negative comments on social media affected her self-image and mental health.

"I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.' I would just believe it," Turned explained. "I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious."

Later on, these feelings led to major depression. Turner developed a sense of isolation after she realized that all of her friends and family were going off to colleege while she was pursuing a sometimes-lonely acting career.

"I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn't want to see them, I wouldn't want to go out and eat with them," Turner explained. "I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, 'I can't do this. I can't go outside. I have nothing that I want to do.'"

The feelings of depression stayed with Turner for most of the time she was filming Game of Thrones, and it's a battle she's still fighting. "I've suffered with my depression for five or six years now. The biggest challenge for me is getting out of bed and getting out of the house. Learning to love yourself is the biggest challenge," she continued.

The actress shared that she goes to a therapist and takes medication for her depression—two things that have helped her feel better.

Between Game of Thrones ending and planning her wedding to fiancé Joe Jonas, Turner may not have the time to take on many new acting roles in the near future. However, we'll continue to see her as Sansa Stark in the final season of Game of Thrones, and as Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix, which hits theaters on June 7.

[h/t: E! News]

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