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]

A Massive Beef Recall Due to E. Coli Might Affect Your Memorial Day Meal Plans

iStock/Kameleon007
iStock/Kameleon007

If your Memorial Day weekend plans involve grilling meat, you're going to want to take some extra precautions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that 62,112 pounds of raw beef are being recalled due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria, which causes food poisoning.

The meat originated with the Aurora Packing Company of North Aurora, Illinois on April 19. Aurora Packing is recalling the products, which have an EST. 788 number on the USDA mark of inspection found on packaging and were shipped to stores around the country. The meat was packaged in multiple cuts, including ribeye and briskets.

Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli, is bacteria that affects the gastrointestinal system, causing cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious symptoms that can derail one's celebratory mood. If you think you've purchased any of the contaminated meat, it's recommended that you immediately discard it.

[h/t USA Today]

Airports Are Fighting Traveler Germs with Antimicrobial Security Bins

iStock/Chalaba
iStock/Chalaba

If you plan to do any air travel this summer, chances are you'll be negotiating a path riddled with bacteria. In addition to airport cabins being veritable Petri dishes of germs from the seat trays to the air nozzles, airport security bins are utterly covered in filth thanks to their passage through hundreds of hands daily. These bins are rarely sanitized, meaning that cold, flu, and other germs deposited by passengers are left for you to pick up and transmit to your mouth, nose, or the handle of your carry-on.

Fortunately, some airports are offering a solution. A new type of tray covered in an antimicrobial substance will be rolled out in more than 30 major U.S. airports this summer.

The bins, provided by Florida-based SecurityPoint Media, have an additive applied during the manufacturing process that will inhibit bacterial growth. The protective coating won't wear or fade over time.

Microban International, a company specializing in antimicrobial products, made the bins. According to the company, their antimicrobial protection works by disrupting the cellular function of the microorganism, making it unable to reproduce. As a result, surfaces tend to harbor less of a bacterial load than surfaces not treated with the solution.

While helpful, Microban is careful to note it's no substitute for regular cleaning and that its technology is not intended to stop the spread of disease-causing germs. In other words, while the bins may be cleaner, they're never going to be sterile.

If you're flying out of major airports in Denver, Nashville, or Tampa, you can expect to see the bins shortly. They'll carry the Microban logo. More airports are due to get shipments by early July.

[h/t Travel and Leisure]

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