People Need People

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Sending a text to a friend can bring a smile to your face. Now, research suggests it could also help bring long-term health benefits.

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger and Psychologist Marc Schulz have spent decades studying what helps people thrive. Their research followed people through the decades, consulting with their parents and now their children, who are mostly of the baby boomer generation. They identified different kinds of happiness.

“We do like that sugar rush high, that ‘I’m having fun right now at this party’ kind of high. And then there’s the happiness that comes from feeling like, ‘I’m having a good life, a decent life, a meaningful life,” Waldinger explained. “We all want some of both, but some of us really prioritize one kind over the other kind.”

Their conclusion? Long term health and wellbeing comes down to one thing: investing in relationships with other people.

Waldinger emphasizes the importance of putting effort into friendships, saying that many valuable relationships can wither away from neglect. And even if you find yourself realizing that you may not have the connections you seek, today’s as good a day as any to start forming those bonds.

So if you’ve been prioritizing your well-being lately, and perhaps meaning to reach out to a friend, family member or loved one, it’s never too late to send a quick message and catch up.