There was a Harvard research team that followed 268 men for more than 70 years, to determine the key to life’s happiness and the founding director summed up its findings with a simple sentence. “Happiness is love. Full stop.”
Studies show that warm, loving relationships improve your physical health and positively influence job satisfaction and income. Good friends are the best stress buster available, according to science. And, as any professional can tell you, relationships make the business world go round.
Keeping your relationships strong is as important as it can sometimes be tricky. But, as a fascinating article recently reminded me, as complicated as relationships are, keeping them going strong often boils down to remembering a single ratio.
“Make sure your relationship follows the 5:1 ratio.”
The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. There is a very specific ratio that makes love last. That “magic ratio” is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions.
These interactions need not be anything big or dramatic. A simple eye roll or raised voice counts as a negative interaction. A quick joke to defuse tension, a squeeze of a partner’s hand, or listening closely when your partner vents about his or her day all constitute a positive interaction.
It’s important to note that while the 5:1 ratio was invented for couples, it’s a pretty handy standard to keep in mind for all your relationships.