What Makes Men Happy – Makes Humans Happy

10 Ways to Love
10 Ways to Love

Harvard University has just released findings from a 75-year longitudinal study on what men need to live a happy life.


{No comments from the peanut gallery here referring to the fact my young son is perfectly content watching the laundry whirl around through the glass window of the machine. This  is real. It’s been studied. They have results.}


This study reported on all aspects of male life, including relationships, politics and religion, coping strategies, alcohol use — even scrotum length, if you can believe it! — and discovered there is a powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and  health and happiness in later years.


Another finding is that recovery from a lousy childhood is possible, but memories of a happy childhood are a lifelong source of strength. According to a review of the study by Business Insider:


“Men who had ‘warm’ childhood relationships with their mothers took home $87,000 more per year than men whose mothers were uncaring.  Men who had poor childhood relationships with their mothers were much more likely to develop dementia when old.  Late in their professional lives, the men’s boyhood relationships with their mothers — but not their fathers — were associated with effectiveness at work.  

On the other hand, warm childhood relations with fathers correlated with lower rates of adult anxiety, greater enjoyment on vacations, and increased ‘life satisfaction’ at age 75 — whereas the warmth of childhood relationships with mothers had no significant bearing on life satisfaction at 75.”  


Another bit of statistical input that parenting is rather significant in a culture where some consider it unworthy. This study finds that no matter where you live, how much money you have, etcetera, that happiness = love.


Which really puts the pressure on us as human beings to figure out how to love one another better, doesn’t it?! Here’s a list I’ve mentioned before, but is worth repeating (and here’s another list of 50 Simple Ways to Love Your Spouse):


10 Ways to Really Love Someone


1. Listen without Interrupting.

2. Speak without Accusing.

3. Give without Sparing.

4. Pray without Ceasing.

5. Answer without Arguing.

6. Share without Pretending.

7. Enjoy without Complaint.

8. Trust without Wavering.

9. Forgive without Punishing.

10. Promise without Forgetting.


That’s a robust list of items for completion, and perhaps someday I’ll break them down one by one and write on them, but in the meantime at least they’re food for thought!


On the down side of this study, there was one trait found to negatively influence lifetime success, in every case:


“… the most significant finding of all is that “Alcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.” In fact, alcoholism is the single strongest cause of divorce between the Grant Study men and their wives. Alcoholism was also found to be strongly coupled with neurosis and depression (which most often follows alcohol abuse, rather than preceding it). Together with cigarette smoking, alcoholism proves to be the #1 greatest cause of morbidity and death. And above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t prevent the damage.”


Big take away? Maybe those prohibition people knew what they were talking about! Lay off the bottle!

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