What can keep you happy and healthy when you go through your life?
If you have to invest now in your future best, where you will put your time and energy?
Robert Waldinger’s Ted Talk
These are the questions that are raised and answered by a famous psychiatrist Robert Waldinger in his Ted talk, which has 8 million views. And he answered discussions based upon 75 years-long studies of human development by Harvard University. As director of this study, he has access to some unprecedented data on “What can keep us happy and healthy?”
Does Money Make Us Happy?
Now if you are thinking answer to this question is fame and money, you are not alone. According to one study, 8000 people said the biggest goal in their life is money, it makes them happy. When the study revealed something else, in this unique study they’ve tracked the life of 724 people for 75 years. They have been asking questions to them about their personal life, professional life, and just not questions.
They check their medical reports. They scan their brain. They drew their blood to check how healthy and happy they’re. So what they have learned from this longest study on human development, it’s not money, it’s not fame, it’s not working harder and harder in office.
Good relationships can keep us happy and healthy according to this study.
People who have lived with a good relationship with their family, friends, and community are much happier, healthier compared to those who have lived alone. Now, what relationship doesn’t mean that how, how many people we’re surrounded with? Because we all know sometimes even in-crowd, we feel alone or sometimes even in marriage, one can feel alone.
What Is A Good Relationship?
A good relationship means a healthy relationship because, in this study, people who have lived in conflict relationships have lived shorter they’re less healthy, less happy compared to those that lived in good relationships. So when I learned, that a healthy relationship can keep me healthy and happy.
I decided to look at my relationship and the most special relationship I had with my mother. But let me tell you about my mother. She is obsessed with food. No, no, no. Not her food but, my food.
Mamma and Food – Deadly Combo
I remember when I was a child; I used to come from school, the first question was, have you eaten your tiffin or not?
When I started traveling whenever I used to call from the airport, mama, I’ve reached, the first question she would ask was when will you eat?
Now every day in the evening I call my mama and always every day the first question is with the subject today, she is just obsessed with the food. She was just obsessed. But let me share the incident, which happened recently in Diwali. And that incident has really helped me to understand how to keep the relationship healthy. If I go back to my memory lane, all of the Diwalis we have spent together at Nashik because my parents stayed there.
Diwali Night …Food Again…
But then this Diwali was a little different because my parents were here in Mumbai at my brother’s place. In the morning me and my wife and my son, we all came to the office to do Pooja. And after when we were going back home, my wife said: “Praveen we have this beautiful ritual of spending time together in Diwali, but this time we are not doing that because we had no plans of going and meeting on that day.” And I said, “Yes, you’re right. We should go at least for some time.”
But we had a problem. We have a dog at home and Diwali nights are nightmares for the dog. They don’t like to go out, but then we decided, at least for that night we can keep him alone at home and then we can just spend at least one hour with them. So I called my mama, mama, we are coming in the evening.
And she said, “So we will eat together tonight right” I said,” no, no, no, no, mama. We don’t have time for that. We’ll just come and we’ll spend time together.” So, we went, we had a good time. We celebrated and we exchanged some gifts and we had a good time. I was very happy in my heart because you were able to maintain that beautiful custom of spending time together. Even in this Devani.
Mamma Unhappy… Food Again..
The next day, when I called my mama, she was sounding a little unhappy. I was surprised. I said, “What happened?” And she said, “okay, so what did you do when you reached home yesterday night?” I said, “I reached home and we ate and we slept. She said, “okay, I’m not happy Praveen” I said, “What’s wrong?” “What happened?”
“You should have eaten there”, she said. I got angry, I said, “what mama?” “Please, I told you.” I was very angry with her. I said, “Mama, please think beyond food.” And I cut the phone. Now, this is very rare. I don’t remember me speaking to my mama like this in the last so many years. Then I called my mom after some time and she was crying. And then she said “Praveen, I had a very small expectation. My expectation was on Diwali night, we as a family all sit together and eat. That would have made me happy.”
Understanding Expectation – Key To Happy Relationships
I felt for a moment. Yes, that was a very small expectation. And it was very easy for us to do that. But the only reason I didn’t do that because I couldn’t understand that expectation. In a relationship, many times we can easily keep a relationship healthy when we understand the expectations, what people are expecting from us, but what we are offering or giving what they are expecting from us.
And many times, their expectations are very, very small, which are very easy for us to do, but we don’t do that just because we don’t understand those expectations. The easiest way to keep any relationship healthy is to understand those small, small expectations. Look into your life, your relationship as a brother, sister, mother, father, boss, subordinate, maybe there are some small, small expectations which they’re expecting from you, which can help you to keep your relationship healthy. Because now you know how the relationship can keep you happy and healthy.