Essential, data-derived advice for leading a happy, healthy life, shared by researcher and psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.
Have you ever wished you could fast-forward your life so you could see if the decisions you’re making will lead to satisfaction and health in the future? In the world of scientific research, the closest you can get to that is by looking at the Harvard Study of Adult Development — a study that has tracked the lives of 724 men for 78 years, and one of the longest studies of adult life ever done. Investigators surveyed the group every two years about their physical and mental health, their professional lives, their friendships, their marriages — and also subjected them to periodic in-person interviews, medical exams, blood tests and brain scans.
With a front-row seat on these men’s lives, researchers have been able to track their circumstances and choices and see how the effects ripple through their lives. Psychiatrist Robert J. Waldinger, the study’s director and principal investigator, shared some of the major lessons in a popular TED Talk (What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness). He says, ”We’d been publishing journal articles with our findings for 75 years, but we publish in journals about lifespan developmental research that few people read. The government has invested millions of dollars in the research, so why keep it a secret?”