What do you think matters the most?

For years I have been saying that what I want for my girls is for them to be "happy, healthy, productive members of society." Their paths in life may take them in different directions. They may all pursue different careers. Different family structures. Different living situations. As long as they are all happy and healthy, then I will feel like I have fulfilled my responsibilities as a parent.

In Arthur Brooks' book, From Strength to Strength, he talks about the Harvard Study of Adult Development (AKA the Harvard Happiness Study) which followed 268 men from Harvard and also tracked 468 "disadvantaged youths." The study has been following these men since 1938. Since the vast majority of these men have passed away, the study has begun following their children and grandchildren as well.

After reviewing the data from this 86-year study, what do you think is the most predictive habit in those that are labeled as "Happy-Well," meaning that they are both in good health and report being happy with the quality of their lives, in the study? I'll give you a little hint... It has nothing to do with their diet, nor their exercise, nothing to do with their alcohol consumption, not even their smoking habits...

What do you think it is?

If you want to be "Happy-Well" then the most impactful thing that you can focus on is establishing healthy, stable, long-term relationships.

These relationships include both romantic and platonic relationships. According to Brooks - "The point is having people with whom you grow together, whom you can count on, no matter what comes your way."

The image at the top of this newsletter reads "Omnia Vincit Amor" which translates to "Love Conquers All." In terms of our health, this statement appears to be very true! There is no better time than the present to put in the effort to maintain existing relationships and/or build new ones.

Unfortunately, across our great nation, impactful interpersonal relationships have been suffering. They have been impacted by the amount of time that we spend on social media sites. Impacted by the amount of time that we spend watching manipulative "opinion" networks. Impacted by conversations avoided with people who matter because of differing opinions.  

My challenge for you... If you want to live a longer, happier life. Close the social media pages, turn the opinion networks off, and sit down with the people who you love and have face-to-face conversations or pick up the phone and call the people who matter in your life. 

Remember that, according to the Harvard Happiness Study,  building and/or maintaining those relationships not only increases your chances of being "Happy-Well," but they also increase the odds of the people that you reach out to!

You are not only helping yourself but also helping others!


Movement is my medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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