family

So many of us think that happiness comes from accomplishments, monetary success, a star-studded career – all products of hard work and the climbing of various social ladders – and while these things can be fulfilling, they might be taking us away from other important components of happy life, namely our friends and families.

Studies show that personal relationships really do have some of the largest impact on overall happiness, as well longevity. Not spending enough time with loved ones was one of the most common regrets listed by people on their deathbeds, according to The Top Five Regrets of Dying by Bronnie Ware.

Compared to social status, wealth, and career achievements, having strong relationships with close friends and family has much, much larger impact on overall happiness. Harvard Psychology Professor Dan Gilbert says, “We are happy when he have family, we are happy when we have friends, and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.”

This is a pretty stark reminder that maybe all of the attention we give to career goals and other “paths to happiness” are less important than we think, and we should be taking the time out of our busy lives to stay connected to the people that matter most.