• Harvard followed 800 people over the course of multiple decades and found 6 things that make people

    by Afshine Ash Emrani, MD, FACC
    on Sep 21st, 2018

Harvard followed 800 people for their entire lives to see what actually makes people live happier, healthier, and longer. One of the three samples of people — 268 Harvard graduates born around 1920 — was the longest prospective study of physical and mental health in the world. A second sample was the longest prospective study of "blue collar" adult development in the world. The third sample was the longest prospective study of women's development in the world. The overall study found six key factors that impact happiness and longevity, including relationships, education, and generosity.

This is how to make your life awesome:

1- Avoid smoking and alcohol (I believe in moderation is fine).

2- Years of education = good: Education seems to increase good habits (and being surrounded by smart, ambitious people never hurts).

3- Have a happy childhood: It's huge. And surrounding yourself later in life with people who love you can help repair a difficult youth.

4- Relationships are everything: "Happiness is love. Full stop."

5- Mature coping skills: Stop projecting and stop being passive-aggressive. Use mature defenses like humor when life gets hard. (Yes, immature humor is still mature coping. You're welcome.)

6- Generativity: Build a good life, a well-rounded self and then give back.

Author Afshine Ash Emrani, MD, FACC Internal Medicine, Cardiology

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