All data for 75 years!
What makes us healthy and happy throughout our lives? If you think that this fame and money, you are not alone.
However, according to psychiatrist Robert Uoldingeru, you’re wrong. As head of the 75-year research project on the development of adult Uoldinger has unprecedented access to the secrets of true happiness and satisfaction.
In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from this study, as well as some practical and old as the hills, wise advice on how to secure a full and long life.
What makes us healthy and happy throughout our lives?
If now you have in mind to take care of their own bright future, what would you have invested time and energy? In a recent survey among the generation of the Millennium of the most important purposes in the lives of more than 80% said that their main goal in life – to become rich. And for the other 50% of the same young people the most important goal in life was to become a celebrity.
We are constantly told that it is necessary to rely on the work, diligence and achieving more. We have the impression that this is what we should strive to live better. The full picture of the life and the decisions taken by the people of the consequences of those decisions – such a picture, we practically inaccessible. Most of our knowledge of human life based on the fact that people remember from their past, and, as you know, in hindsight we did not is a 100% view. We forget a lot of what happens to us in life, and sometimes memories are distorted beyond recognition.
But what if we could see life completely as it develops over time? What if we were able to trace the people from adolescence to old age, and to see what actually makes them healthy and happy?
That’s what we did.
Harvard Study of Adult Development can be considered as the longest-running study of adult life. For 75 years, we have seen year after year the life of 724 men, asked them questions about the work, personal life and health, and all this time they asked, not knowing what will shape their lives.
Such studies are extremely rare. Almost any project of this kind does not hold up to ten years, or because too many members leaving, or because of the termination of funding, or because of new interest from employees, either because of their death in the absence of followers. But by a happy coincidence, and thanks to the perseverance of several generations of researchers, this project has survived.
About 60 of our original 724 members still alive and involved in the project; most of them over 90. And now we are beginning a study of more than 2000 children of these people. I’m the fourth head of the project.
Since 1938, we study the lives of two groups of men.
At the beginning of the project participants from the first group were second-year students at Harvard College. All of them graduated from college during the Second World War, and most of them went to war.
The second group studied by us was a group of boys from the poorest areas of Boston, which is chosen for the study because of their belonging to the most disadvantaged and marginalized families in Boston in the 30s. Most of them lived in demountable apartment houses without running water.
At the beginning of the project, all the young men were interviewed. All underwent medical examinations. We have come to their home and told their parents. Then these boys become adults, each with their own destiny. They have become factory workers, lawyers, builders and doctors, and one even became President of the United States. Some of them became an alcoholic. Some developed schizophrenia. Some climb the social ladder from the bottom to the top, while others traveled in the opposite direction.
The founders of the project, even in his wildest dreams could not imagine that I would be standing here today, 75 years later, talking about the fact that the project is still ongoing. Every two years, our patient and dedicated staff call to our members and ask if they can send another questionnaire with questions about their lives.
Many living in the heart of Boston asked: “Why do you keep me study? In my life there is nothing interesting. ” Harvard graduates do not ask such questions.
In order to clarify the picture of their lives, we do not just send them the questionnaire. We talk with them in their living rooms. We get their medical records from their doctors. We take their blood, we scan their brains, we are talking with their children. We record on video their conversations with their wives about their deepest problems. And when ten years ago we finally asked the wives of their desire to participate in the project, many of us have said, “Yeah it’s time.”
So what have we learned?
What are the lessons learned from the tens of thousands of pages of information collected about their lives? So, these lessons – not about wealth and fame and not for the hard work.
After 75 years of research, it became abundantly clear that the happier and healthier we are doing a good relationship. Dot.
We learned three main lessons about relationships.
The first – is that the relationship with the people we are very useful, and loneliness kills.
It turns out that people who have strong ties to family, friends, the community, happier, healthier physically, and they live longer than men, deprived of the company of others.
A state of loneliness, as it turned out, poisons. People are isolated from others more than they would have liked to feel less happy, their health is deteriorating before, brain functions such people are denied before, and they have shorter lives than people not alone. And the saddest thing is that whenever you asked, at least one in five Americans will tell you that he is alone.
And we know that we can be alone in a crowd, you can be lonely in the marriage, so the second the extracted us a lesson that’s not the quantity of friends and not about whether you have a constant steam, and as the relationship with family people.
As it turns out, lives in a state of conflict is extremely harmful to our health.
Family conflict, for example, which is not enough love and affection, a very detrimental effect on our health, it is perhaps even worse than divorce. A life in good mental environment is our protection.
When our members was well over 80, we wanted to go back to the middle of their lives and see whether it was possible to predict who will be a happy, healthy 80-year-old man, and who is not. After gathering all the information we have, when they were 50, it was found that no cholesterol at that age has served as an indication of what they will be in retirement. This proved how well their relationship evolved.
People, Most Satisfied with their relationship of 50 years, were the most healthy in the 80. A good, warm relationship for us are the kind of buffer to protect us from the blows of fate from becoming old.
Most of our happy couples when it was already over 80, said that even in times of severe physical pain of not feeling happy. And people with uncomplicated relationship during the exacerbations of physical pain suffered even more because of the emotional pain.
The third lesson we internalized about relationships and health – is that a good relationship not only protect our body, they protect our brain.
It turns out that a reliable and strong attachment to another person, when you are 80, protects you and the people who are in a relationship where they can really rely on each other in difficult times, longer retain a good memory. And people whose relationships do not allow to really rely on each other, memory problems occur much earlier.
At the same time good relations does not mean full bright. Some of our 80-year-old couples squabble could continue day and night, but as long as they feel they can count on the support of another, when it gets tough, these arguments do not have much damage to their memory.
The truth of that good, close relationships contribute to our well-being as old as the world. Why is it so difficult to learn, and so she just ignored?
Because we – the people. We prefer short-term solution, we would get something from what our life will be better and this will remain so. And the relationship is no guarantee they are complex, confusing and requires constant effort, return to family and friends, this is not the glitz and glamor. And there is no end. It is the job of a lifetime.
In our 75-year study of the happiest participants were retired people who are actively doing the work of colleagues in playmates. Just as the generation of the millennium in the recent survey, many of our men entering adulthood, sincerely believed that wealth, fame and great achievements – that’s what they need for a full and happy life.
But again and again over 75 years, our study confirms that it is better to live the people who bet on the relationships within the family, with friends, like-minded people.
What do you think? Suppose you now 25, or 40, or 60. What does it mean to invest in the relationship?
The possibilities are almost unlimited. This can be a simple replacement of the time at the screen time with the people, the revival of stale relationships of some new undertaking together, for example, a long walk or a date night or a call to a relative with whom you have a hundred years did not speak, because all those too familiar We feuds threaten terrible retribution to those who harbors anger on others.
I would like to finish with a quote from Mark Twain. More than a century ago, looking back on his life, he wrote:
“There is no time – life is too short – by squabbles, apologies, bile and calling to account. There is only time to love, and this, so to speak, is only a moment. “
The good life is built on good terms.
Do you agree with scientists from Harvard? Or do you have thoughts on this? Share them with us in the comments!