Harvard Study Reveals the Ingredients to True Happiness

In a recent TED talk, Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger described some of the secrets to happiness, which were revealed in a recently released 75-year-long Harvard study.

Apparently, we should value love above all else. It’s the main thing in life that brings us happiness. Once you see what really made people happy over three-quarters of a century, you won’t need to assume what will make you happy, and you may change your ways.

Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who led the study from 1972 to 2004, wrote about this important study with humor. He said, “The 75 years and 20 million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ “

The study followed two sets of white men: 268 Harvard sophomores were part of the “Grant Study” led by Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant and 456 12- to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner-city Boston were part of the “Glueck Study” led by Harvard Law School professor Sheldon Glueck.

Researchers surveyed the men about their jobs, relationships and health over 75 years.

The greatest takeaway from the study was the revelation that relationships bring us most joy. Good relationships bring us the most happiness.

But it’s more complicated than that. SEE THE THREE KEY ITEMS THAT MATTER

1. Close Relationships


The men in both groups who had better relationships with family, friends and community were both happier and healthier than their less social counterparts. They also lived longer.

Lonely people had more health-related problems and reported feeling less happy. They also suffered sleep disorders and more mental health issues.

Men who had “warm” childhood relationships with their mother were less likely to develop dementia later in life, and were more likely to have professional success.

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