Girls Night Out: Why Your Relationships Matter

It’s time to schedule a girls night out. Pretty much immediately.

Wondering why? It has to do with happiness, health and the way we age. You may have heard about the happiness study, but if you haven’t, here’s a reminder.

In 1938, scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard University students as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. As the years passed, researchers added hundreds more people to the study, including women, children and Boston’s inner city residents, representing a wide cross-section of society.

Over the years, researchers collected all kinds of health information from the group, and every two years asked participants questions about their psychological and emotional well-being.

Last year, the researchers revealed a surprising finding about the health of people in the study: that the people with the strongest, happiest relationships in their lives – whether with spouses, family members, friends or the greater community – were also the healthiest. People who had the strongest relationships had the longest and happiest lives, and experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.

Taking care of your relationships – and not just your body – is an extremely important part of a healthy routine, the study showed.

What does this mean for you, a young woman in the peak of her life?

It means it’s time to invest even further in your relationships – to be grateful for the ones you have, nurture them regularly, and maybe even embark on new ones. Support systems – whether they come in the form of one person, a group of people or a community made up of different social networks – help us share our ups and downs, and make life richer, happier and healthier.

So go ahead, make a plan to see your favorite people again soon – it’s good for you.

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