One of the key factors to attain a sense of fulfilment, mindfulness and purpose is to share a close and warm relationship with our family and friends. We humans are defined as social animals; we need to stay amongst people, we need to be loved and we need to be cared for.
There is an ongoing research at Harvard University which started 75 years ago, yes you read it right, 75 years ago. Such long-term researches are called Longitudinal Studies and this one is carried out by 3rd generation director Robert Waldinger. It is an observational research method; in which data is gathered for the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time. It is very challenging to conduct such research as the subjects migrate, change their mind, researching agencies change their focus or run out of funds. Such studies are rare but at the same time provides us with invaluable insights.
This particular Longitudinal research we are talking about started with study of over 724 people 75 years ago and today there are more than 2000 participants (children of those original participants). The participants included people from all walks of life, various financial and social backgrounds.
The study showed that people from challenged economical background overcame their challenges, people with physical challenges too became successful over a period of time. In long run none of these challenges had major impact on person’s worldly success. But one clear outcome of this study is that good relations kept people healthy and happier. And those who had strong and warm relationships lived longer than those who didn’t.
The study clearly shows that people who had better social connections; Family, Friends and Community were happier, their brain stayed sharper at old age and their memories were stronger. While those who didn’t have such support system around them were more prone to life threatening diseases and depression.
So, reach out to your old friends, socialise more, participate in cultural celebrations in family or neighbourhood and talk to someone against whom you had grudge.
A healthy and balanced social life is at the cornerstone of attaining a sense of fulfilment and Spiritual wellbeing.