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  • What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? Pictures of entire lives, those pictures

  • are almost impossible to get. The Harvard study of adult development may be the longest

  • study of adult life that's ever been done. For 75 years we've tracked the lives of 724

  • men. Year after year, asking about their work, their home lifes their health. About 60 of

  • our original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in

  • their 90's. We don't just send them questionnaires, we interview them in their living rooms, we

  • get their medical records from their doctors, we draw their blood, we scan their brains.

  • What are the lessons that come from the 10's of 1000's of pages of information that we've

  • generated? The clearest message that we get from this 75 year study is this: good relationships

  • keep us happier and healthier. We have learned three big lessons about relationships. The

  • first, it turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends,

  • to community, are happier, they're physically healthier and they live longer. And the experience

  • of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated find that their health

  • declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives.

  • So the second big lesson that we learned is that it's not just the number of friends that

  • you have but it's the quality of your close relationships. High conflict marriages for

  • example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse

  • than getting divorced. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships

  • at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. And the Third big lesson that we learned is that

  • good relationships don't just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. In your 80's,

  • the people who are in relationships were they really feel they can count on the other person

  • in times of need, those people's memories stay sharper, longer. So what about you? What

  • might leaning into relationships even look like? It might be something as simple as replacing

  • screen time with people time or livening up a stale relationship by doing something new

  • together. Or reaching out to that family member who you haven't spoken to in years. Because

  • those all too common family feuds take a terrible toll on the people who hold the grudges. I'd

  • like to close with a quote from Mark Twain: "There isn't time - - so brief is life, for

  • bickerings, apologies, heart burnings, callings to account - - there is only time for loving,

  • and but an instant so to speak, for that." The good life is built with good relationships,

  • thank you.

What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? Pictures of entire lives, those pictures

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A2 US study good life people happier longest healthier

Robert Waldinger | The Good Life: Lessons from Longest Study on Happiness (Condensed Talk)

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    yeanlow posted on 2016/04/26
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