Harvard researchers reveal the #1 secret to happiness

Sept. 23, 2022
by Gina Gafford

Harvard Health did the longest-running study on happiness (Sept. 16, 2022). The study tracked the lives of 724 men for nearly 80 years. Unfortunately, women did not participate in the research because Harvard University didn’t allow female students at the time.

The Harvard study followed the men since they were teenagers in 1938. The group consisted of men from various economic and social backgrounds, from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods to Harvard undergrads. Over the years, the researchers collected information about their lives and mental and emotional wellness.

The study revealed that happiness doesn’t lie in our genes, IQ, wealth, or social class. Instead, the Harvard Study of Adult Development found that strong social connections made people happier and physically healthier.

I agree that social connections are essential, but I wonder if the results would be the same if they studied women for 80 years.

A new book by one of the study authors, Robert Waldinger, is called The Good Life. The book release is in Jan. 2023.

“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health,” Waldinger said. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.”

Waldinger also said that people who were more isolated than they wanted to be from others find they are less happy, their health declines in midlife, their brain function declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.

The pandemic caused a lot of unhealthy isolation. I hope we have learned from that experience and will find more healthy solutions in the future. Families need to stick together and form strong relationships.

Also, God created Adam and Eve. Therefore, to understand the full human experience, we must embrace the perspectives of both men and women. If we want balance in research and the world, we must include women.

Harvard University could have studied women. They could have interviewed women in the community and at different Universities, but it was more convenient to research men.

People naturally seek balance, and we intuitively know when something is wrong. Unfortunately, the Harvard Health study excluded women, so, in my opinion, the study is incomplete.

If you have any questions or can recommend someone in the community to interview, please email ggafford@heraldjournal.com.

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