How to be Happy always with Yourself | How to be Happy in Life | Key to Happiness

A long term study conducted by Harvard gives us key pointers to leading a happy life

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Harvard researchers embarked on a journey to find the key to happiness in 1938. After many decades of research involving 724 participants, the results are in and they are contrary to what we usually believe. According to the study career advancements, a healthy diet, money or exercise aren’t keys to leading a happy life. The most important part of living a happy life is to maintain positive and healthy relationships. The study coins the term ‘social fitness’ as the key. If an individual is engaged in fulfilling relationships socially, he is highly likely to be happy and fulfilled himself. While its not a startling revelation, it does stray from the norm that suggests money, work and leisure lead to a happy life.

The study stresses that relationships have physical manifestations on people, going against the idea that they can be stressful psychologically only. The study gives examples of common situations such as the positive feeling that washes over people when they communicate with someone who seems to understand their perspective or the sleepless nights experiences by people when they are in the throws of a romantic relationship. Contrary to popular belief, relationships and friendships do not take care of themselves and have to be nurtured consistently for them to function at their best. An important aspect, the study says, is taking a step back every once in a while, to analyze where our relationships stand and how much time we are devoting to them. Honesty makes it easier to regulate a relationship, building trust and fluency in communication.

The age-old adage, “humans are social animals” rings true here. It is necessary for people to interact with each other, because no one can function in an isolated setting. Keeping that in mind, the study gives us a few pointers to keep in mind when approaching life, happiness and relationships.

One of the most important questions that the study asks us, is likely to be an eye opener for many. Who are you likely to call in a moment of crisis? In a world where we have dozens of friends we meet on and off and hundreds, maybe thousands of friends on social media platforms, it can get hard to pick someone in our moment of need. The issue isn’t a lack of people but a lack of people we have absolute faith and trust in. The study prompts each individual to ask himself this question and analyze where the stand in this regard.

Often, in our daily lives, people we interact with regularly tell us to be cautious. Some even scoff at the idea of adventure or lofty ambitions. In this case the study suggests that these people might not be fulfilling our needs. It is better to lean on people who encourage us and stand by us when we pursue new things or try to grow. These are aspects of every person’s life that promote growth. It is best to have people around you, who respond positively to these pursuits rather than questioning their validity.

The next important question the study asks is who are you comfortable confiding in and whether they are the right person for the task or not. In a moment of weakness or vulnerability, it is imperative that we have someone to confide in, even more important is that said person is worthy of the responsibility. The lack of such a friend can leave us open to people who would use our vulnerability against us. Or one could stay closed off to other people entirely, bottling up their inner most thoughts and desires. Neither is a healthy way of processing one’s feeling, says the study.

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An important aspect of interpersonal relationships is an individual’s identity and the people who have shared the experiences we use to build that identity upon. Every person goes through different stages in life, sharing experiences with people that shape us. As important as these experiences are, the people who are a part of them are just as important according to the study.

Helping people and being helped by them is what keeps the world going in some sense. Help itself can be informational or physical. Either way, the people we depend on, in our times of need and vice versa are the people we need to care for and interact with positively.

Shared happiness is the last aspect listed here. Who is it that we like to watch a movie or share a meal with? Who makes us laugh? Whose company makes us think time is flying away? These are important question about important people in our lives. We must maintain our relationships with these people, for they bring happiness to our lives in the most direct of ways. Something each individual needs from time to time.