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]

Amazon Customers Are Swearing by a $102 Mattress

Linenspa
Linenspa

Before you go out and spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars on a new mattress, you may want to turn to Amazon. According to Esquire, one of the most comfortable mattresses on the market isn’t from Tempur-Pedic, Casper, or IKEA. It’s a budget mattress you can buy on Amazon for as little as $102.

Linenspa's 8-inch memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress has more than 24,000 customer reviews on Amazon, and 72 percent of those buyers gave it five stars. The springs are topped by memory foam and a quilted top layer that make it, according to one customer, a “happy medium of both firm and plush.”

Linenspa

Perhaps because of its cheap price point, many people write that they first purchased it for their children or their guest room, only to find that it far exceeded their comfort expectations. One reviewer who bought it for a guest room wrote that “it is honestly more comfortable than the expensive mattress we bought for our room.” Pretty impressive for a bed that costs less than some sheet sets.

Getting a good night's sleep is vital for your health and happiness, so do yourself a favor and make sure your snooze is as comfortable as possible.

The mattress starts at $102 for a twin and goes up to $200 for a king. Check it out on Amazon.

[h/t Esquire]

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Zappos Is Now Selling Single Shoes and Mixed-Size Pairs, Making Its Offerings More Accessible

REVOLT, Unsplash
REVOLT, Unsplash

For people with differently sized feet or prosthetics, shopping for shoes is often more complicated than it has to be. Zappos is now addressing this problem with a simple fix. As CNN Business reports, shoppers can now purchase single shoes or mixed-size pairs from the online shoe retailer.

According to Zappos, customers have been requesting more accessible shoe-buying options for years. For some people with prosthetic limbs and differently sized feet, spending money on extra shoes they don't need is the only way to get the right fit. Some people with amputations and prosthetics may only need to wear one shoe from a full-priced pair.

Thanks to the new policy, these customers no longer have to overpay to get the shoes that are right for them. As of Tuesday, July 14, Zappos shoes from Nike, BILLY Footwear, Converse, PLAE, Stride Rite, and New Balance are officially available to purchase as single shoes or mixed-size pairs. The shoes range from toddler to adult sizes and are priced at $17.50 to $85.

Zappos is the latest brand to make its products accessible to a wider consumer base. For years, Target has been selling Halloween costumes for wheelchair users and adaptive clothing that's easy to remove for kids with physical disabilities.

[h/t CNN Business]

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