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The key to happiness is a good relationship

Written by Jenny Holmström, Co-founder and CEO of Coupleness

We can’t ignore 75 years of science - here’s what the research says

For many years it has been important to me to exercise and do yoga to feel good, and I make the time to take care of myself. Why? Because I know it's good for my health. How? I put plans into my calendar and rarely cancel them, and I always feel great afterwards. Training, both physical and mental, has simply been a given for living a long and healthy life.

Recently I have gained a little wisdom and added another factor, thanks to a powerful Ted Talk with Robert Waldinger from Harvard University. It really got me thinking and turned out to be a game changer for me.

Waldinger presented findings from the world's longest study on happiness that has been going on for 75 years. It shows that good relationships with others make us happier and healthier, and having a partner you can trust and share things with makes you better prepared to handle life’s challenges. The study also shows that it is close relationships, rather than money and success, that make people happy.

Prioritizing our relationships in everyday life

They say that it’s the guests who make the party, and when I think about it, it makes sense that our close relationships really are that important. I feel best when I feel close to my partner, both physically and emotionally. But we don’t always have that closeness, and from time to time, I feel alone - even in my relationship. It can be hard to talk about.

 

A relationship shouldn't feel lonely. The whole point of being in a relationship is that you are not on your own. It doesn’t matter that I have the world's best partner; when I don’t have those meaningful, deeper conversations in everyday life, there is a feeling of loneliness. For me, it has to do with having a lot going on - my family, our house, working at a startup... it all adds up. Naturally, this led me to co-found Coupleness.

What have you done for your relationship today?

So how can I maximize my chances of being happy and living a long life? My take is to focus on the little things, and to make time for my relationship. This could be that I do something nice for my partner each day, and I take the time to be curious and understand how he feels. At the end of the day, I usually ask myself the question: “What have I done for my relationship today?” My conscious investment in happiness and health in the long run has simply taken on a lovely new dimension.

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