Friday, March 17, 2017

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness


This was the conclusion of the 75 year Harvard Study of 724 men from their younger years up to when they got older. The study consists of annual interviews, medical exams, and observation of these 724 men, 60 of who were in their 90s at the time of the video.

When the men were younger, most replied that they wanted money, fame and success in work.

But the 3 key lessons that were distilled from the study are these:

1. Social connections are good for us. The more connected with are with family, friends and the community, the happier we are. (My note: Hmm... so thats why social media works!)

2. It is the quality of the close  relationships and not the quantity that really matter. (So, having 2 good, real life-long relationships is better than having 1,500 virtual social media friends!). And the effects transfer to the physical as good relationships are able to buffer the physical challenges as we grow old. The study showed that the quality of the relationships were a better predictor of quality of elderly life than cholesterol at age 50.

3. Relationships just have to be good and not perfect. Conflicts may happen but if the relationship allows one partner to be assured that the other will stick by the relationship thru thick and thin, then that is enough. (Hmm, so that is why happy though imperfect marriages are also the healthiest!)

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