What Are the Keys to Happiness? Lessons from a 75-Year-Long Harvard Study

Last year, we high­light­ed the Har­vard Grant Study and The Glueck Study, two 75-year stud­ies that have traced the lives and devel­op­ment of hun­dreds of men, try­ing to get answers to one big ques­tion: How can you live a long and hap­py life? For answers, watch Robert Waldinger above. He’s the direc­tor of what’s now called the Har­vard Study of Adult Devel­op­ment and also an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chi­a­try at Har­vard Med­ical School.

Accord­ing to the decades-long study, you won’t get health and hap­pi­ness from wealth and fame (nor hard work), the mirages that many Amer­i­cans chase after. Instead they come from some­thing a lit­tle more obtain­able, if you work at it—good, strong rela­tion­ships with fam­i­ly, friends, col­leagues, and folks in your com­mu­ni­ty. These rela­tion­ships, the study finds, pro­tect us men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly. They increase our hap­pi­ness and extend our lives, where­as, con­verse­ly, lone­li­ness and cor­ro­sive rela­tion­ships put us into decline soon­er than we’d like. The key take­away here: good rela­tion­ships are the foun­da­tion on which we build the good life. Start putting that into prac­tice today.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

All You Need is Love: The Keys to Hap­pi­ness Revealed by a 75-Year Har­vard Study

A Guide to Hap­pi­ness: Alain de Bot­ton Shows How Six Great Philoso­phers Can Change Your Life

Take the ‘Hap­pi­ness Exper­i­ment’

Free Online Psy­chol­o­gy Cours­es

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Comments (4)
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  • Rain,adustbowlstory says:

    And yet peo­ple keep short­ing their rela­tion­ships so they can get more work done.

  • Daniel Quinonez says:

    Thank You for this insight­ful arti­cle. I am always look­ing for new research and views with respect to hap­pi­ness research.

  • Irene Fenswick says:

    More and more peo­ple are build­ing rela­tion­ships online. They feel lone­ly and unhap­py. Thanks for this thought-pro­vok­ing arti­cle. I’ll rec­om­mend it to my stu­dents.

  • Marilyn Taplin says:

    “Hap­py is that people….whose God is the Lord” (Psalms 144:15). Hap­py are the peo­ple who choose God. But if you choose Satan and your god is Satan there is no hap­pi­ness. To be hap­py one must depart from evil and return to God.

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