Harvard's 85-Year Study Reveals the Secret to a Happy Life: Strong Relationships

When George Vaillant first took over the Harvard Study of Adult Development in 1972, he had no idea the profound truth it would reveal.

The study, which began tracking 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938, has become one of the longest studies of adult life ever conducted.

Over 80 years, researchers meticulously collected data on the physical and mental health of the participants. 

What Vaillant and his team discovered was surprising.

The clearest message that emerged from the tens of thousands of pages of data was this:
Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

The Power of Connection:

The Harvard study revealed that the quality of our relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of health at age 80 than cholesterol levels, exercise habits, or even IQ. Those who were most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. Conversely, those who were in unhappy relationships or were lonely had declining health earlier in midlife and even...

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Shadows of Shame: The Hidden Barrier in Human Connection

Greetings once again, dear readers. As we continue our exploration through the interconnected realms of loneliness, mental health, and human connections, we now confront one of the most profound yet often hidden barriers: shame. Building on our understanding from the previous articles, this offering delves into how shame intricately weaves into our lives, shaping our ability to connect authentically with others and ourselves.

Shame—a powerful and often unacknowledged force—lurks in the shadows of our interactions, creating barriers to connection and understanding.

It is a hidden player in many of our societal woes, from loneliness to political polarization. In my work, I’ve observed how shame operates on both an individual and a collective level, and how moving past it is crucial for building a healthier, more cohesive society.

But how do we move past this paralyzing emotion? 

The first step is recognizing its presence and understanding its origins. Often,...

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Bridging the Inner Gap: From Loneliness to Mental Wellness

Welcome back, dear readers. In our previous discussions, we explored the loneliness epidemic in the United States, and its physical health implications. As we traverse the landscape of human connection, our focus now shifts to a more intimate terrain—the internal struggles that underpin loneliness and its impact on our mental health. It's crucial to understand that overcoming feelings of loneliness is not just about seeking external connections but also about bridging the inner gaps within ourselves.

What the Surgeon General Missed

One of my patients poignantly remarked that while the Surgeon General's report on the epidemic of loneliness addressed its external aspects, it overlooked the internal issues that prevent people from forming connections. Her insight is profound. Many, like her, struggle with childhood traumas and the internalization of a 'negating other'—often a parental figure whose critical voice continues to echo within, long into adulthood.

This...

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‍7 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Manipulation

The signs and symptoms of physical abuse are obvious and concrete, but the signs of emotional abuse are insidious and hidden to the eye. For this reason, many people underestimate the devastating and lasting effects of emotional abuse. In this article, we will explore the signs of emotional abuse and manipulation, the impact they can have on individuals, and how to protect yourself from these toxic behaviors.

Common Tactics Used in Emotional Abuse and Manipulation

To effectively combat emotional abuse and manipulation, it is crucial to understand the dynamics at play. Emotional abuse is about power and control. Remember, in a healthy relationship, both people have the capacity to respect multiple subjectivities. That means that both people understand that each individual has their own set of feelings, perceptions, needs and desires that are worthy of respect and consideration, and that they are bound to differ. Both people work to respect the subjectivity of one another. 

In an...

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How To Recognize The Signs Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

“Narcissism” is a term that gets thrown around too often, in my opinion. In popular culture, the term has come to be loosely equated with grandiosity, entitlement, self centeredness and a lack of consideration for others. This is not untrue. 

 

However, this is an oversimplification of narcissism that leads to a lot of people mis-diagnosing friends, co-workers, bosses and mates. 

 

First, let’s talk about the ways that the term narcissism can be used. Perhaps the world’s specialist in narcissism was Dr. Heinz Kohut. His contribution to the field is immeasurable; he described that every human being has a “narcissistic line of development,” and that we need to feel understood to develop a healthy, stable sense of self esteem.

 

In other words, narcissism is a healthy part of everyone that needs to be in proper balance; problems occur when one’s sense of self is simply unformed (psychotic or borderline personality),...

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If You're Having These 6 Thoughts About Your Relationship, It’s Probably An Unhealthy One

Trust yourself.

Your inner monologue is helpful not only in relationship to better understanding yourself; it can also reveal your state of being — I.e., the quality of your present experience — in your relationship.

This state of being can help you discern whether the kind of thoughts you're having may be signs you're involved in an unhealthy, perhaps even toxic, relationship.

Unhealthy relationships are characterized by insecurity, distrust, preoccupation and disconnection....

 

 

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How To End A Toxic Relationship With Someone You Love

Let’s face it, ending any relationship is difficult. But, if you add toxic elements to one, it becomes even harder. Now this may seem counterintuitive because upon reflection, ending a relationship with someone who is not good for you may seem like a no-brainer, but actually, the surprising reality is that ending a toxic relationship usually involves more mixed feelings and doubts that ending a healthier one. 

 

The reason for this lies in our healthy urge to mend, repair, and make peace with people we are bonded to. In a toxic relationship, this instinct is thwarted. 

 

If two people in a relationship treat each other fairly, they are actually able to come to a reasonable understanding of why they should end a relationship. This conclusion is harder to come by when the relationship is unhealthy. 

 

Why? Because in a toxic relationship, nothing is clear. There is a great deal of manipulation, often involving gaslighting, denial, and...

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People With These 3 Personality Traits Are The Most Likely To Be High-Functioning Sociopaths

Proceed with serious caution.

We've all had the experience of meeting someone who seems to be "off" somehow, but in a way it's extremely difficult to put a finger on.

Dating and falling in love with a person whose personality traits turn out to be so truly twisted as to raise suspicions that they might have antisocial personality disorder will leave your self-esteem and ability to trust deeply damaged, possibly even causing you to doubt your own perceptions of reality....

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