What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

by EGCOA, March 8, 2016

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction.

The Study has tracked the lives of two groups of men for over 75 years. Dr. Waldinger is now expanding the Study to the Baby Boomer children of these men to understand how childhood experience reaches across decades to affect health and well being in middle age. The study’s ageing subjects have shown that one’s situation at age 50 has more to do with one’s health and happiness at 70 than what happened earlier in life.

“We used to think that if you had relatives who lived to a ripe old age, that was the best predictor” of a long life, said Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “It turns out that the lifestyle choices people make in midlife are a more important predictor of how long you live.”

Golf has long been known to be a benefit for both fitness and relationships, two key predictors found by the study. Science is now backing up what those in the industry have known for many years, that involvement in social sports, such as Golf, leads to a happier, healthier and longer life.


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