People who need people are the longest-living, happiest people in the world

Michigan Today, an alumni publication at my alma mater, recently posted videos showing a Michigan researcher talking about happiness.

Christopher Peterson, a professor of psychology, talks about what makes life worth living, and about happiness, creativity and resilience.

He said something in the first video that simmers down the findings of his life’s work to one sentence:

Sometimes when I give a talk I tell the audience,
If you really don’t want to listen to me for the next hour,
listen to me for the next five seconds
because I’ll tell you what positive psychology is all about:
Other people matter. Period. I’m done with my talk.
Anything that builds relationships between and among people is going to make you happy.

Click here to watch a 4:30 video of Christopher Peterson talking about positive psychology and what makes life worth living.

In a story in the LA Times in July, Shari Roan wrote:

It’s pretty clear that eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking and not drinking to excess are factors linked to longevity. Perhaps the most ignored but potentially powerful strategy, however, is being a social butterfly.

In a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, researchers found that having social connections — including family, friends and colleagues — improved the odds of survival by 50%.

Or, as Barbra put it …

So it seems to me that good relationships are the meaning of life. They make us happier, they help us live longer.

Why is it then that we often don’t treat our relationships as being as important as our work, our exercise, our errands and all the other things that fill up our days?


Categories: home and family, lifestyle

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2 replies

  1. My husband Rob and I are obsessed with Rachel Zoe on Bravo, whose husband, Roger, has played a big role this season. One thing Roger often says is that Rachel seems to make time for everything — clients, fashion shows, premiers — and only seems to be able to say no when it comes to him. When I first heard him say this, it made my stomach drop a little. I’m often guilty of scheduling myself to the point where I don’t have time for the people who REALLY matter. Like my awesome hubby.

    Which brings me to my next point. It’s all good and well to be social, but the people in one study who are more likely to rate themselves as happy are those who have *substantial* conversations, versus just engaging in small talk. So be social, but be real too — ideally with people who make it safe for you to do so.


  1. 10 things science says will make you happy. (Coincidences make me happy.) « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally

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