Happiness Is Love | The Men Of The Harvard Grant Study

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A Study was done on 268 Harvard grads over a 75 year period to assess possible predictors of healthy aging.  The main result above all else that led to the most fulfillment and satisfaction in life was: warmth of relationships.  “Happiness is love. Full Stop.”

“The 75 years and 20 million dollars expended on the Grant study points…to a straight forward 5 word conclusion: Happiness is love. Full stop”

-George Vaillant

Here are the main findings:

  • Alcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.
    • Alcoholism was the main cause of divorce between the Grant Study men and their wives.
    • Strongly correlates with neurosis and depression, which tended to follow alcohol abuse, rather than precede it.
    • Together with associated cigarette smoking, was the single greatest contributor to their early morbidity and death.
  • Financial success depends on warmth of relationships and, above a certain level, not on intelligence.
    • Those who scored highest on measurements of “warm relationships” earned an average of $141,000 a year more at their peak salaries (usually between ages 55 and 60).
    • No significant difference in maximum income earned by men with IQs in the 110–115 range and men with IQs higher than 150.
  • Political mindedness correlates with intimacy: Aging liberals have more sex.
    • The most-conservative men ceased sexual relations at an average age of 68.
    • The most-liberal men had active sex lives into their 80s.
  • The warmth of childhood relationship with mothers matters long into adulthood:
    • Men who had “warm” childhood relationships with their mothers earned an average of $87,000 more a year than men whose mothers were uncaring.
    • Men who had poor childhood relationships with their mothers were much more likely to develop dementia when old.
    • Late in their professional lives, the men’s boyhood relationships with their mothers—but not with their fathers—were associated with effectiveness at work.
    • The warmth of childhood relationships with mothers had no significant bearing on “life satisfaction” at 75.
  • The warmth of childhood relationship with fathers correlated with:
    • Lower rates of adult anxiety.
    • Greater enjoyment of vacations.
    • Increased “life satisfaction” at age 75.

Harvard Grant Study: Long Term Study On Happiness

Quote

“In the real world choice, will, and responsibility, are not absolute and unambiguous concepts. People choose decide and act in a context, and to a large degree that context is determined by how their brains function.”
-Dr. Gabor Mate

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“Happiness is having short-run reinforcers congruent with medium-run and long-run ones, and wisdom is knowing how to achieve this. And ethical behavior results when short-run personal reinforcers are congruent with long-run group reinforcers.”


-B.F. Skinner