What Does the Longest Study on Adult Development Tell Us About Life?
Human relationships and interactions are essential to our longevity and happiness. A Harvard study dating back to 1938 still continues on today. It is the oldest study of it’s type in existence and unlocks many key answers to living a long, happy and fulfilled life. Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, said in a viral 2015 “TED Talk” released in 2015, that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”
The study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community. It begs the question, does the worrying about success, being rich and famous place any real bearing on how our life ultimately turns out?
The study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community.
This is what many people desire – to be rich and famous, thinking it is the answer to all of their problems, but in truth it never will be. What this study teaches is that our thirst for success should not mean that we neglect or sacrifice important and fundamental relationships in our life. These relationships, when filled with trust have immense physiological effects that serve us all the way through to old age.
What the study also shares is that the number of relationships is not a determining factor in our longevity, but the quality of a few close relationships that keeps us feeling loved and appreciated.
“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,” Waldinger said.
What this brings to light is a quiet patience within us, to place our main focus in restoring any broken relationships that are important to us, letting go of those relationships that did not serve us, and ensuring that those who love us feel appreciated.
Success will follow you wherever you go as long as you are fulfilled in your relationships and connected to the community through local events such as fun runs or poetry recitals. You won’t be rushing to get that next pay rise or that new car because you already know that what you have is enough – you are grateful. As time passes, the other things, like success will likely come your way, but you will hardly need them, they just be bonuses.
Make friends, reconnect with old friends, and appreciate those that love you.
~ Adam, 2021
To read more about the study, here a re a few useful links: