The average life expectancy in the US in 2021 is 78.99 years. Most people would say they want those years to be as happy and healthy as possible.
The question appears to be, “what brings us happiness and health as we age”?
The Harvard Study of Adult Development was started over 80 years ago to understand why people are happy with their lives. The study continues today with the 60 participants that are still alive. Other research studies have chosen to look at this same phenomenon with various participants, but no other study has lasted as long as the one done by Harvard.
The Harvard Study indicated that fame and fortune were not the factors that contributed to health and happiness. It turns out happiness isn’t just a life of comfort and ease.
Rather it is “belonging” and being in good relationships that provide resiliency.
The Harvard Study also pointed out that “loneliness” creates toxicity and brain function declines. The overwhelming feature of happiness from this 80+ year study points to how relationships buffer us from aging. It shows that knowing you can “count on someone” makes a huge difference in a person’s happiness level.
Researchers also observed a structural foundation formed with each participant that appeared to contribute to their happiness and health.
These 4 areas are:
- BELONGING: The word belonging doesn’t mean you belong to someone or something as much as it means valuing who you are as a person. When you believe you “belong,” it is much easier to share kindness with others, smile, show respect and courtesy, and love without conditions.
- PURPOSE: Purpose in this sense means understanding your strengths and sharing those strengths with others. Without a sense of who you are, a person tends to flounder throughout their life. Maybe you are a natural teacher, an artist, a musician, or a healer. Your purpose may not be your career, but who you are at your core, so discovering this “purpose” builds greater internal happiness.
- TRANSCENDENCE: This word implies being connected to a higher reality. When you are in this place of creativity or contemplation, you lose all track of time and space.
- STORYTELLING: This aspect of happiness is defined as understanding everyone has the ability to change their “story” or their self-concept at any time. You can rewrite your narrative and “weave” a different story to define your life as you want it to be.
How does our happiness relate to our health?
Science suggests that when a person is happy, it may contribute to stress reduction, less pain, boosting the immune system, and protecting the heart. On the other hand, unhappiness has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, and increased inflammation throughout the body.
When you have your health, it’s much easier to tackle the other aspects of becoming happy. Boomers Total Health System and Boomers Ashwagandha can help you take steps toward a happier, healthier, and more vibrant YOU for 2021.
Living a more meaningful and happier life takes time and courage, and although it’s true our happiness can “come and go,” having meaning in our life gives us something to hold on to during those rough spots.