What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? A recent study asked a group of young adults what their life goals were.  Over 80% said they wanted to be rich and another 50% said their second best goal was to be famous…We are constantly told to work longer hours, push harder, achieve more.  However, does success and money make us happy?

The Harvard Study of Adult Development gives us great insight into what keeps us healthy and happy. A group of researchers studied individuals from the time they were teenagers into old age. For 75 years they tracked the life of 724 men, 60 of the original group are still alive and in their 90’s. The researchers tracked their medical records, scanned their brains, interviewed their wives and kids, video-taped their daily interactions.

And you know what we’ve learnt from the 1000’s of pages of information generated? That good relationships keep us healthier and happier. Individuals who have meaningful relationships with family and friends are happier and live longer than those who are less socially connected.

So why is it so hard for us to get it at times? We are human and sometimes want a quick fix. Relationships can at times be complicated and messy and most of the times involve patience and time.  However, as this large study indicates they are worth the effort and hard work in the end.


– Anna Catania is a generic counsellor within Willingness.  She offers counselling sessions and runs the services for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingnss.com.mt.