Zoe was very certain of what she was going after in life: A good school and a steady job in the future. Ever since she started middle school, she decided to give up on spending time with friends, and stopped going on trips with her family, hoping to get more time to study. As Zoe strode through the school gate in the morning of mid-September 2017, she noticed two students in front of her, joking with each other. Following her instinct, she looked down, and saw only one pair of shoes. Despite of her increasing effort in studies and improving grades, Zoe was also aware that she is very, very lonely.
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Lessons From The Lifelong Experiment
According to a recent survey of millenials, asking them what their most important life goals were, over 80% said that their major life goals were to get rich, and 50% of the same young adults said their major life goal was to become famous. But is that what really makes a good life?
A Harvard study held a lifelong experiment on 724 men to find out what makes a good life. For decades, researchers recorded the daily conversations, health issues, and social connections of each person’s life. As the participants grew from teenagers to elderlies, it turned out that the most important lesson that came from that information they generated on these lives, were that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
Why Building Relationships?
Visualize yourself going through life without someone else’s accompany. Imagine an entire life without someone to trust. Picture success without other people’s support. Most people may not notice the importance of building strong relationships with others. However, it is crucial to to establish strong relationships that provide us with accompany, trust, and support.
Relationships play such an important role in one’s life, that it can affect people in behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological ways, according to Dr. Umberson and Dr. Montez from the US National Library of Medicine. Based on a survey sent to middle schoolers and high schoolers at KAS, nine out of ten respondents agree that social relationships are important. “I think social relationships are really important because they can help me and accompany me when I am lonely.” said a current 7th grader at KAS. Yet, from the same survey, a majority of the respondents spend time outdoors with families or friends rarely–every semester. This is the reason of many people’s concerns, that despite of everyone’s awareness in the importance of relationships, only a minority of had took action in establishing better relationships for their life.
Connecting To The World
Social connections are beneficial to one’s quality of life. It allows people to feel engaged with the people around, provides an opportunity to learn from and see new people outside of their comfort zone, and links people from different places to share unique experiences. It is true that people who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community are happier, healthier, and live longer than those who isolate themselves from others. In fact, loneliness is toxic. Isolated peers tend to live an unhappier life without their family’s support, friend’s accompany, and other’s trust.
Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to establishing relationships, some people form large circles of friends, while others build smaller circles of closest friends and families. No matter what, it is not the amount of friends that counts, but the quality of relationships between that matters. Recalling the life-long experiment of a Harvard study, the researchers also concluded that the people who were the most satisfied with their relationships at age fifty were the happiest at age eighty.