What Makes A Good Life? TedX Talk by Harvard Professor Robert Waldinger
Have you asked yourself about what makes us really happy and healthy as we go through life? If you want to invest in “the good life,” where should you put your time and energy? Harvard Professor and Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, a director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, answers these life questions based on a 75-year-long study of adult life that started in the late 1930s and continues to this day. It’s one of the longest and most complete studies of adult life ever conducted and he discussed this study in a recent TED talk.
What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness
Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Zen priest. He directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and teaches at Harvard Medical School.
“The good life is built with good relationships.”
THREE BIG LESSONS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS:
“We’ve learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected…. the second big lesson that we learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.… And the third big lesson that we learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper longer. And the people in relationships where they feel they really can’t count on the other one, those are the people who experience earlier memory decline.” – Robert Waldinger
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