As we are all ‘bombarded’ on a daily basis with so much negativity, we feel it’s vital to focus on the ‘Positive’. To that end we’d like to highlight a long term study that commenced in 1938 called ‘The Harvard Study of Adult Development’.
This effort may be the longest study of adult life that’s ever been done. For more than 75 years it has tracked the lives of 724 men. Year after year asking them about their work, their home lives, their health. Asking consistent ‘intimate questions’ all along the way not knowing how the lives of the participants were going to turn out.
About 60 of the original 724 men are still alive, and still participating in the study, most of them by now in their 90’s. The study had 2 groups of men, 1 Harvard students/graduates, and the other group chosen from some of the most troubled and disadvanted families in the inner city of Boston in the 1930’s. As the men from both groups grew up they became members of society in all walks of life, from common to presidential.
This presentation was given by Walter Waldinger at a TED Talks event in Brookline Massachusetts;
What are the lessons that come from the ten’s of thousands of pages of information that have been generated on these lives. The lessons are not about wealth, fame, or working harder and harder.
The clearest message that we get from this 75 year study is: “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier”
1. Social connections are really good for us, lonliness kills. People who are connected with other people are happier, healthier, and live longer than other people that are less connected. Isolated people are less happy in poorer health, their brain functions decline sooner, and they live shorter lives.
2. The quality of the close relationships is what matters not the quantity. Living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. The people that were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 turned out to be the healthiest at age 80.
3. Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. Being involved in a secure positive relationships is ‘protective’ to retain our memories.
The message that good close relationships are good for our health and well being is Wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is it so hard to get, and so easy to ignore? The good life is built with good relationships.
To watch and listen to the entire TED Talk video by Walter Waldinger (CLICK HERE)