A psychiatry professor at the Harvard Medical School, Waldinger is serving as current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a longitudinal investigation into what makes us happy and healthy. The study is older than Waldinger himself.
How can you live your best life? One of the world’s longest-running health studies seeks to find the answer.
In 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development began following two groups of young men – some from inner-city Boston and others who studied at Harvard, including President John F. Kennedy and Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. What began as a study about adult development transformed into a 75-year examination of what keeps men happy and healthy.
“What we realized was that we had an amazing resource – we could look at their health, relationships their work lives – and all of that added up show how happy they were in their lives,” said Dr. Robert Waldinger, the fourth director of the study. “And so we started looking at the whole package.”
What does it take to live a good life?
Surveys show that most young adults believe that obtaining wealth and fame are keys to a happy life. But a long-running study out of Harvard suggests that one of the most important predictors of whether you age well and live a long and happy life is not the amount of money you amass or notoriety you receive. A much more important barometer of long term health and well-being is the strength of your relationships with family, friends and spouses.
Read more: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/the-secrets-to-a-happy-life-from-a-harvard-study/
When my wife and I moved to New York City in 2001, recently graduated from college and newly wed, we were eager to find friends. We knew nearly no one but were sure we’d soon find a fun-loving group like the 20- and 30-something New Yorkers who spontaneously dropped in on one another on TV shows like Seinfeld and Friends.
We hatched a plan. After moving into our Midtown Manhattan apartment, we invited all the neighbors over for drinks by placing Kinko’s-printed quarter-sheets into everyone’s mailboxes. Then, we waited for our versions of Chandler, Kramer, and Elaine to show up. But they didn’t. In fact, no one did. As the ice in the cooler melted and the guacamole browned, not a single person among 100 apartments stopped by. Not. One. Person.
Read more: http://theweek.com/articles/607077/heres-simple-friendship-ritual-that-made-much-happier
My grandmother once told me this little story that stuck with me. One afternoon at a doctor’s appointment, her doctor moved her large purse to another chair and remarked how heavy it was. “You must be very rich,” he said to her. “I am,” she said affirmatively.
My grandparents lived modestly, still in the narrow two-bedroom rowhouse where she’d raised her family since her husband returned from World War II. They didn’t travel, eat lavish meals or shop at the finest department stores. Neither had careers that followed their passions. (She would have been an amazing teacher, he an exquisite artist.) Yet, she genuinely considered herself rich because she had a husband, children and grandchildren whom she adored.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03/02/harvard-researchers-discovered-the-one-thing-everyone-needs-for-happier-healthier-lives/
Happiness is one of the most important things in life, yet it’s also one of the hardest to study.
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest and most complete studies of adult life ever conducted. Waldinger described some of the secrets to happiness revealed by the study in a recent TED talk.