Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? Many people think money and fame are the answer to a meaningful life—but is it?
My name is Robert Waldinger, and I’m a Harvard psychiatrist, Zen priest, and psychoanalyst. I direct the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which is possibly the longest study of adult life ever done.
For 75 years, my team (and our predecessors) tracked the lives of 724 men. Year after year, we asked about their work, their home lives, and their health—trying to determine what makes for a meaningful and healthy life.
About 60 of our original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in their 90s. And we are now beginning to study the more than 2,000 Baby Boomer sons and daughters of these men.
From this study, one important lesson about what makes for the good life emerges time and time again.
Simply put, good relationships keep us happy and healthy.
Today, many people believe that money and fame are what make for a good life. As a result, they spend their time making these things a priority, while ignoring their relationships.
This proves to me that we need a better understanding of what the good life actually looks like.
After years of research, I’ve gathered key findings of what the good life is. And on this website, I want to share my findings with you.
Here is what I’ll address :
- Relationships and their impact on the happiness and health of our lives.
- Meditation and the wisdom of Zen, and how we can practice these for a more fulfilling life.
- Psychotherapy’s role in healing and living the life we want.
- The latest research from the longitudinal study on adult life.