Do you remember that song from years ago? Don’t Worry, Be Happy ! It was so catchy. You’d hear it and it would be stuck in your head playing a loop for days. Well, that’s what it did for me.
So what makes a good life? This is a question that has been researched by the Harvard Study of Adult Development. Today I was going through my emails and came across a very interesting longitudinal study on happiness. It has spanned 75 years! Two groups of men, 724 in total, were followed up every two years with questionnaires, medicals, scans, blood tests, family interviews. One cohort was from Harvard, the other from a poor neighbourhood in Boston. The study still continues with research now involving over 2000 of the original participants’ children. Many of the original group are still alive and in their nineties.
Three main lessons have emerged from this study.
- Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Social connections are good for us. Loneliness, on the other hand is toxic.
- The quality of good, close relationships matters. Good relationships are protective for our physical health
- Good relationships protect the brain as well. Memory remains sharper for longer.
The key lesson from this fascinating study?
A good life is built with good relationships.
Not wealth. Not jobs. Not education. …
Listen to Robert Waldinger from Harvard talk about the findings of this research –
Some other interesting sites you might want to look at if this topic interests you:
What is happiness
Learn, teach and give happiness
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DON’T WORRY! BE HAPPY!
© Raili Tanska