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An 85-year Harvard study found the No. 1 thing that makes us happy in life: It helps us 'live longer

The No. 1 key to a happy life: 'Social fitness'

In 1938, Harvard researchers embarked on a decades-long study to find out: What makes us happy in life?

The researchers gathered health records from 724 participants from all over the world and asked detailed questions about their lives at two-year intervals.

Contrary to what you might think, it's not career achievement, money, exercise, or a healthy diet. The most consistent finding we've learned through 85 years of study is: Positive relationships keep us happier, healthier, and help us live longer. Period.

The No. 1 key to a happy life: 'Social fitness'

Relationships affect us physically. Ever notice the invigoration you feel when you believe someone has really understood you during a good conversation?

Or a lack of sleep during a period of romantic strife?

To make sure your relationships are healthy and balanced, it's important to practice "social fitness."

We tend to think that once we establish friendships and intimate relationships, they will take care of themselves. But our social life is a living system, and it needs exercise.

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