Weve all heard countless studies, articles and TV
interviews on happiness. A 72 year old study on Harvard
University sophomores measured a formula-some mix
of love, work, and adaptation-for a good life. And
while many of those who were college sophomores in 1937
are now dying or in their fading twilight, this study continues
to be diligently maintained to this very day.
And never before has science been able to report such fascinating
and thoroughly time-tested results on happiness. Following
are 3 powerful lessons from this study.
1. Have a Healthy Outlet
So many of the people in this study seemed to have all
their ducks in a row. In their prime years in the 1950s
and 1960s, they were making big money in powerful
careers. They had beautiful families and lived in idyllic
neighborhoods. Oddly enough, later in life, many of these
fortunate people ended up breaking down mentally and physically.
Why? If one didnt have a healthy outlet for their
fears, nerves, and struggles, it was only a matter of time
before repressed demons erupted to the surface. The happiest
people in this study had a healthy outlet. They were altruistic
or had a rich sense of humor. They funneled their issues
into sport, their lust into courtship.
Its something important to consider. As the study
proves, a human being can get away with sustaining daily
nerves, fears, and doubts for a number of years. But ultimately,
such a nervous nelly will crack. If you havent already,
develop an outlet
find a sport, commit to helping others,
lighten up, and laugh more often. A wise one said, "A
person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without
springs, jolted by every pebble in the road."
2. Dont Take Yourself Too Seriously
This study, as reported in Atlantic Magazine, was summed
up beautifully by the journalist Joshua Shenk: Herein
lies the key to a good life--not rules to follow, nor problems
to avoid-- but an engaged humility, an earnest acceptance
of lifes pains and promises.
In other words, one can only carry the burden of a big
ego and lots of pride for so long before your proverbial
knees will buckle. Dont take life too seriously. We
all have weaknesses. Do you really want to battle your dark
side year after year? Or might it just be time to lay down
your arms, take a deep breath, and enjoy life. Its
shorter than you think.
3. Happiness Must be Shared
According to the 72 year old study, happiness is real when
shared. Those who spent too much alone time ultimately struggled.
The happiest subjects in the study were those who sustained
meaningful, healthy relationships with friends and family.
One can never give enough hugs, say enough "I love
you's," and send enough "I miss you's."
Livin' the good life is livin' the moment!
*This study was reported in the media for the first time
by ATLANTIC MAGAZINE, June 2009