Eight decades. Three generations. Thousands of lives.
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is an extraordinary scientific endeavor that began in 1938 and is still going strong (Waldinger is the fourth director, and Schulz its associate director). For over eight decades, the study has tracked the same individuals and their families, asking thousands of questions and taking hundreds of measurements—from brain scans to blood work—with the goal of discovering what really makes for a good life.
Through all the years of studying these lives, strong relationships stand out for their impact on physical health, mental health, and longevity. Waldinger and Schulz boil it down simply:
“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”
The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness
What makes a life fulfilling and meaningful?
The stronger our relationships, the more likely we are to live happy, satisfying, and overall healthier lives.
In fact, the Harvard Study of Adult Development reveals that the strength of our connections with others can predict the health of both our bodies and our brains as we go through life.
The personal stories of participants in the Harvard Study and the Study’s key findings are bolstered by research findings from many other studies and from ancient wisdom.
Relationships in all their forms—friendships, romantic partnerships, families, coworkers, tennis partners, book club members, Bible study groups—all contribute to a happier, healthier life.
And as The Good Life shows us, it’s never too late to strengthen the relationships you have, and never too late to build new ones.
What makes a good life?
Lessons from the longest study on happiness.
Get a preview from the 9th most watched TED talk of all time.
What might you learn from our book?
- What thousands of life histories tell us about what’s really important in life
- What social fitness is and how to exercise it
- Why happiness is not something you achieve
- What factors in early childhood shape happiness in mid- and late- life
- The W.I.S.E.R. model of reacting to emotionally challenging situations
- The unexpected benefits of having a close colleague at work
- The steps you can take today to live a happier life