Happy Relationships are the Key to a Fulfilling Life, According to 75-Year-Long Harvard Study

iStock.com/molchanovdmitry
iStock.com/molchanovdmitry

The key to a fulfilling life has nothing to do with getting ahead at work, making money, or traveling the world. As Fast Company reports, according to a 75-year Harvard study, living your best life and creating meaning is all about one thing: relationships.

The Grant and Glueck study of adult development has been running at Harvard since 1938, and is now on its second generation of participants—the children of the original study’s subjects. The study is actually made up of two different longitudinal research projects. One, originally called the Grant study, recruited 268 participants from Harvard’s classes of 1939 to 1944. The other, the Glueck study, recruited 456 men growing up in working-class neighborhoods in Boston. Over decades, the Harvard research team collected data about their lives, including their physical and mental health, marital status and quality, career happiness, and more.

They found that the most important factor in how happy and healthy these men were over time was their relationships. In other words: Finding fulfillment in life is all about the people you love.

The Grant and Gluck research doesn’t only encompass romantic partnerships and marriage, though. Quality, close relationships are important whether they are in the context of romantic partnerships or intimacy between friends or family members. The kind of relationship you have is less important than how close you feel with them.

The study has one big caveat: It only included men, and there are notable gender differences in how people experience relationships. Some research has suggested that men may benefit more from marriage than women. As a group, men also tend to have a harder time maintaining friendships; surveys have found that men, particularly as they get older, are more likely than women to say they have no one to discuss important subjects with. So it's possible that having close relationships throughout their lives might affect men differently than women.

However, the findings line up with empirical research on the effects of loneliness, which studies have found can drastically impact your health. People who are socially isolated have a greater likelihood of heart attacks and strokes, higher blood pressure, reduced immunity, and chronic inflammation. That’s not to mention the obvious mental health effects. Loneliness has become an important enough topic in the public health world that Great Britain has appointed a government minister dedicated entirely to the topic.

Unfortunately for the youngest generations among us, recent surveys have found that young Americans are lonelier than older generations. That will likely have a big impact on how healthy and fulfilled people feel throughout their lives.

[h/t Fast Company]

7 Quick Tips for Disinfecting Your Home the Smart Way

Frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas can reduce the spread of illness in your home.
Frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas can reduce the spread of illness in your home.
BrianAJackson/iStock via Getty Images

With many people spending more time—or virtually all of their time—indoors, it’s natural for thoughts to turn to how to best clean surfaces that might help minimize the risk of spreading illness. Although researchers believe respiratory droplets are the primary way coronavirus is transmitted, preliminary data, which is not yet peer-reviewed, suggests the virus may remain on some surfaces for hours or days.

While scrubbing isn't a complex process, there are nonetheless some areas of your home you might be neglecting. Here’s how to best approach a household scrub, as well as identify and disinfect some common germ hot spots.

1. Pay attention to high-touch surfaces and clean them frequently.

High-touch surfaces are exactly what they sound like: Areas in the home that get handled and touched regularly. Think doorknobs, light switches, appliance handles, toilet handles, faucets, and remotes. And don’t forget laptops, keyboards, desks, and phones.

2. Don't just do a quick wipe down. Get the entire surface.

Taking a disinfecting wipe to the keyhole of a doorknob isn’t going to do you much good—it's important to really scrub all high-touch surfaces. Make sure you get every available surface area, including the plate behind the knob where fingers and hands often brush against it. When cleaning remotes, make sure you don't just scrub the buttons, but the space between them as well.

3. You can use soap and water.

While products claiming to kill 99.9 percent of germs are best in this scenario, there's another option if you're having a hard time tracking down those supplies—simply mix some dish soap in water. It won’t kill organisms, but it can remove them from the surface. (And while soap and water can work for high-touch surfaces throughout the home, you shouldn't use the solution on electronics like your remote or keyboard.)

If you’re looking to kill germs, diluted bleach (four teaspoons to one quart of water) and 70 percent alcohol solutions work well. But it's important to note that bleach and other cleaners can harm certain surfaces. So be sure to do your research and make sure the product you're using won't cause any damage before you start scrubbing.

4. Take laundry precautions.

If you’re trying to be extra-vigilant about the spread of germs in the house, you should consider washing clothes at the highest possible temperature and disinfecting laundry bins. It’s also advisable to use disposable laundry bags.

5. Remove your shoes before entering the house.

This step is more preventative, but it’s a simple way to keep from tracking in contaminants. Remove your shoes before going inside and leave them near the door. It's also a good idea to clean floor surfaces with disinfecting mop cloths, but be sure anything you use is safe for the finished surface. Cleaners like bleach can discolor certain materials.

6. Don't forget to clean your car.

Even people vigilant about cleaning their home can neglect their car interior. Since you’re constantly touching virtually every surface, be sure to wipe everything down regularly, including the steering wheel and door handles. If you have a leather interior, there are auto wipes available for those surfaces. And before you go wipe down any touchscreens, be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if they require any special microfiber cloth.

7. Give your debit cards a wipe.

It’s a good idea to disinfect credit or debit cards that follow you around on shopping excursions. As with all high-touch objects, be sure to wipe them down every day.

[h/t New York Times]

The World Health Organization Is Releasing a COVID-19 App to Combat Coronavirus Misinformation

WHO MyHealth is meant to help clear up misinformation surrounding the novel coronavirus.
WHO MyHealth is meant to help clear up misinformation surrounding the novel coronavirus.
MangoStar_Studio/iStock via Getty Images

As is the case with most crises, the novel coronavirus has become a breeding ground for misinformation. Because the disease is so new, there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding it, but that hasn't stopped people from claiming to know how to treat, prevent, and detect COVID-19. In an effort to separate fact from fiction, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching an app dedicated to sharing what we know and don't know about the virus, 9to5Google reports.

Named WHO MyHealth, the new app is a collaboration between former Google and Microsoft employees, WHO advisors and ambassadors, and other tech and health experts. Users will be able to compare their symptoms with those linked to COVID-19 and receive public health updates specific to their location. As of now, there are plans to invite people who have been either been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 to share their phone's location history to give experts a better idea of how the virus spreads.

WHO MyHealth, which is currently being built as open source, is set to roll out for Android and iOS on Monday, March 30. If you have questions about COVID-19 you need answered immediately, you can also access accurate and up-to-date information through the WHO's chatbot.

Any information regarding novel coronavirus should be met with skepticism when it can't be traced back to organizations like the WHO or the CDC—especially when it comes to supposed cures. No specific medication has been proven to treat or prevent COVID-19, so you shouldn't take advice from anyone claiming otherwise.

[h/t 9to5Google]

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