Affective relationships and their link to happiness and health

In the past, studies in the world of psychology have focused on illness, pain, dysfunction, trauma … They have tried to elucidate how we came to these situations so difficult to bear and how to get out of them, or at least relieve them.

For some time now, while this branch of study has obviously continued and remains important, there are also many studies and theories more closely related to what some call positive psychology. These, as the name suggests, are more focused on happiness, well-being, how to improve health

I want to focus, for its relevance and breadth, on the Harvard study of adult development. This is the longest study of adults. They’ve followed 724 men from adolescence to old age since 1938. And over time, they’ve included their wives and the more than 2,000 children they’ve had.

    Harvard Adult Development Study

    At the start of this study, a group of researchers selected two groups of young people from very different backgrounds: Harvard students and boys from Boston slums from struggling families.

    Every two years, they had a new battery of questions, medical history, scans, interviews with the children.…. And even if in adolescence everyone said they believed that happiness would be achieved with fame, wealth or by achieving great success (these same answers are currently given among adolescents and young people) in the years 80, their perspective has changed a lot and only talk about their relationships.

    Good personal relationships are what will mark our happiness and also our health. The better relationships with friends, family, colleagues and, of course, with the couple, the happier and healthier we will be.

    This shows that the best way to predict health at age 80 is not cholesterol, but satisfaction with personal relationships at age 50 and over.

    The main conclusions of this study are:

    • People with more social connections are happierThey are healthier and live longer. Social relationships do us good and loneliness kills.
    • It has less to do with the quantity of relationships, but with the quality of the same. We have all never felt alone surrounded by many people, and yet very accompanied by a simple glance. It is therefore about having relationships in which to feel welcomed, understood, valued, accepted, …
    • Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, Even from pain, they also protect our minds from the ravages of the passing years

    In conclusion, we can all decide to live our life alone (accompanied) or as a couple, but in both cases it is important that our bonds with others are strong so that we can live and grow old, healthy and happy.

    Does living as a couple improve our health?

    For people who have decided to live our life as a couple, we put many of these links here, in the person with whom we have chosen to share our story. I always say to couples who ask me that we are free to live without a partner and to have these bonds very divided between friends, family, colleagues … but in deciding to have a relationship, we combine many of these connection needs into one person. This is why relationships fill us so much when they’re right and we tend to feel so needed when they’re wrong.

    And that brings us to the key question: “What can I do to have one of these relationships that will bring me health and happiness?” No one better than Sue Johnson, the creator of the emotionally driven couples therapy model to answer it: “Love is simple, but it’s not easy.”

    A good relationship needs trust, That we are able to take risks with the other, to show ourselves as we are, to open ourselves to him, and for the other to respond to us by being emotionally present. Let him pay attention to us, listen to our feelings and stay here with us, accompany us. That once we show this most vulnerable part of us, he stays by our side, not that he solves our problems, but that we can feel close to him.

    It’s simple, being there for the other when they need us, but not easy, because being vulnerable is an act of courage in the current days. I sincerely believe, and therefore I say to the couples who consult me, that although the society in which we live leads us to an ever growing individualism, in which the need for the other is experienced as a weakness, trying to live a relationship from that. “Not needing” or rather this to show that we don’t need, leaves us alone to be accompanied, leaves us sad and dissatisfied.

    For all this, it is important to take care of our relationship, to share, to be, sincerely and without hiding; because it is in this that lies the key to our happiness and also to our health.

    It’s not about not arguing, it’s not about always agreeing, it’s not about pretending, it’s about knowing that the other is our refuge, at – beyond any discussion.

    Fortunately, we are fortunate that Sue Johnson has created a therapy model that teaches us how to be present and connected with our partner, which teaches us to do that which is often not easy for us, even if it is. is very simple.

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