Most people go through life, consciously or not, following what other people do. In the U.S., a lot of our attention is focused on our careers, dating, making money, buying a home, getting married and having kids.
But how much of that story really includes relationships, and specifically friendships? How much of our time is really dedicated to the people who make us happy and enable us to feel important? How much of our lives is about connecting with others?
Professor Robert Waldinger and Dr. Marc Schulz recently co-authored a new book entitled, “The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.” They explore an 80-year Harvard study that attempts to uncover the answer to the question of what makes people flourish? The answer is simple: It’s mostly about developing deep, lasting connections with others.
Waldinger and Schulz joined Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to discuss their findings.
We know now that loneliness is epidemic — between…one-four people will say they are lonely much of the time. – Robert Waldinger, Harvard professor
Listen: How deep, lasting connections benefit our health and happiness
Robert Waldinger is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the co-author of “The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.” Waldinger is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development that the book is based on. He says people are lonelier today in part because we live in a world that makes it easier to be alone and lonely.
“There are many different things contributing to loneliness. What we’re finding is the path of least resistance in our lives right now is greater disconnection, greater time alone,” says Waldinger.
Dr. Marc Schulz is a clinical psychologist and co-author of “The Good Life.” Schulz is also an associate director of the longitudinal Harvard Study of Adult Development. He says people often put off what will make them happy until they get older.
“Time moves quickly if we put off our hopes for our well-being into the future,” says Schulz.