Thursday, July 07, 2016

The secrets to a long and happy life.

Going through my queue of references that might become mindblog posts I come across this piece by O'Connor, describing findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a research project that since 1938 has closely tracked and examined the lives of more than 700 men and in some cases their spouses. of the most important predictors of whether you age well and live a long and happy life is not the amount of money you amass or notoriety you receive. A much more important barometer of long term health and well-being is the strength of your relationships with family, friends and spouses.
...the study has produced many notable findings. It showed, for example, that to age well physically, the single most important thing you could do was to avoid smoking. It discovered that aging liberals had longer and more active sex lives than conservatives. It found that alcohol was the primary cause of divorce among men in the study, and that alcohol abuse often preceded depression (rather than the other way around).
The people in the strongest relationships were protected against chronic disease, mental illness and memory decline – even if those relationships had many ups and downs...people who sought to replace old colleagues with new friends after retiring were happier and healthier than those who left work and placed less emphasis on maintaining strong social networks...Over and over in these 75 years...the study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships with family, with friends and with community.

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