Love and happiness. When we’re unhappily single, it’s easy to assume that love would remedy our lack-of-happiness situation. But does it? Researchers have long tried to determine if there’s a correlation between happiness and the thing we call love.
Love and Happiness: Loneliness Sucks
From the category of “obvious research,” comes the finding that loneliness has a negative correlation with happiness and a positive one with depression. Happy people have social support and a circle of friends (of whom they are not jealous). Psychological research studies link social relationships with happiness, alongside meaningful work. Wealth and pleasure-for-the-sake-of-pleasure activities showed little-to-no long-term effects on levels of happiness.
Our quests to find happiness through love might have something to it — we know that loneliness isn’t good for us.
Love and Happiness: Human Contact is Key
Last year, Coca Cola conducted a study they called the “Happiness Barometer,” trying to determine how happiness is defined worldwide. The consistent finding in all 16 countries surveyed was that human contact was the most essential element in defining happiness. This “contact” wasn’t necessarily implying romantic love. Instead, the emphasis was on in-person relationships. So step away from the social networking site and catch up with a friend over coffee to up your happiness quotient.
Love and Happiness: Love is Key, Specifically Companionate Love
An interesting study of arranged marriages found that companionate love and life satisfaction had a significant positive correlation in the long-term, whereas passionate love boosted happiness short-term. Women worldwide, especially, felt more satisfied with life when in a companionate relationship. The practical, long-term dynamic of a marriage partnership proved more satisfying than lust-filled romance.
Love and Happiness: Married People Have the Upper Hand
Does marriage make people happier, or are happier people more likely to get married?
In one study, 25 percent of unmarried adults claimed to be “very happy,” whereas an impressive 40 percent of married adults could boast the same. Note that it’s not just marriage that seems to boost happiness; it’s a healthy marriage. (A bad marriage is worse than no marriage when it comes to personal happiness.)
Life-long support, freedom from loneliness, and the rewards of parenting: they all contribute to a satisfying life.
The connection between love and happiness seems to lie in the nurturing of healthy relationships, romantic or not. Investing in the lives of others is emotionally rewarding.
Love one another. It’s worth it.