The ongoing Grant Study, the longest study of human development which began in 1938, reveals that the key to a happy and healthy life is close intimate relationships. The study followed around men throughout the years and tracked every aspect of their lives.

Washington Post staffer Colby Itkowitz reports on the results of the study and its current director Robert Waldinger, a Harvard psychiatrist who took over the project in 2003. According Waldinger those who isolate themselves and lack meaningful relationships breakdown quicker and emotionally:

“People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely,” Waldinger said in his TedTalk.

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