Thursday, July 9, 2009
WHAT MAKES US HAPPY...
I just read a review of one of the longest (perhaps "the") longest study on what constitutes happiness. It's a 72-year, longitudinal study performed at Harvard University. One of the researchers has devoted 40 years of his life to this study. 40 YEARS!!! The study followed "...268 men who had started college in the 1930s. The study followed the men through their educational years, careers, war experiences, marriages and families, illness, and old age." (Peterson 2009)
What "it" boiled down to, what the big secret was, what all the brou-ha-ha turned out to be was this: " "That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."
Conversely, what they discovered the biggest detriment to happiness was in this particular population of men, in this subculture, in this generation was....ready?...alcohol addiction. The key researcher, Vaillant said that, "alcoholism was the single most negative factor in these men's lives."
This explains the cliche, "There ain't no luggage racks on the hearse". All we take are our relationships. That's it. Love, the ultimate carry-on.
Happiness appears to be a consequence of our choices. A consequence. Like any other consequence, good or bad. Isn't that interesting? This isn't earth-shattering news to those who have been taught to live within dietary constraints, to sacrifice for others and then to look for the joy that is inherent in that service, and always, always, always believe with every fiber of your being that the big payoff is coming, which leads to hope and optimism....talk about your recipe for happiness....home made yet!