Access Institute | Giving Thanks for Our Relationships
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20 Nov Giving Thanks for Our Relationships

Giving Thanks for Our Relationships
As we look forward to sitting down at the Thanksgiving table, it’s important to remember that in addition to the delicious food we’ll be sharing together, there is something else at the table that provides vital nourishment to the body and soul. Something we know here at Access Institute, which is evident every day in the work we do, is that close relationships and the meaning that people find in those relationships are the most important factors in overall health, well-being and happiness. This insight is confirmed by the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the 80-year investigation of adult life, health, and wellness.
The research found that close relationships keep people happy throughout their lives. Relationships not only protect people from life’s discontents, but they are key factors in better mental and physical health. All in all, relationships are more important to maintaining well-being than money, fame, social class, IQ, or genetics. The research also found that the opposite is also true, that social disconnection, isolation and loneliness are literally toxic and lead to mental illness, disease, and early death.
“The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80,” said Robert Waldinger with his wife Jennifer Stone. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Finally, the study also helped to reinforce something else that we, as therapists, know well, that people change. The personality of an individual and their approach to life is not, as once believed, set by early adulthood. It changes throughout the lifespan. Many study participants who were “train wrecks” in their 20’s went on to lead healthy, satisfying lives. 
We thought this important to share with our community, especially during these times of discord and turmoil. More than ever, we need to be aware of the profound importance of our close relationships and do everything we can to nurture and sustain them. 
From everyone here at Access Institute, we wish you, and all the important people in your life, a warm and happy Thanksgiving.

Bart Magee

Executive Director
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