Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Seek People, Relationships For Happiness in Life


If you could design a life full of happiness, what ingredients would you choose? Many people would fill it with lots of money, long vacations, a successful career, and a lifestyle of status, leisure and ease.

But that leaves out the most important engine of happiness, the world’s longest scientific study on the subject has found.

Most people aren’t aware of this true ingredient because our culture sells us messages that aren’t true, like “buy this thing and you’ll be happier,” says Dr. Robert Waldinger, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

He’s the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which began in 1938 with 724 participants and set out to discover what makes people thrive.

Eighty-five years later, the study includes three generations and more than 1,300 descendants of the original participants. People have been followed from their teen years to old age, with researchers gathering everything from their exercise and drinking habits, to marital satisfaction and biggest worries.

Researchers regularly collect their health records for markers of physical and mental well-being, and meet them face-to-face to observe their…

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