Wisdom of Happiness from Older Adults – Courtesy of Harvard Study since 1938!  


By: Kiersten Williams


While there is so much research and information floating in the world, something that is so precious is wisdom gleaned from time and experience. There is much to be gleaned from research, but Harvard began a long-term medical study in 1938, and this longitudinal study collected much rich information, including information about happiness and connectedness.   

Here are lessons learned from these adults:  

  1. Know when to let Go 
  1. Yes, it is intensely hard to do, especially as there is so much to hold onto! “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is good advice, but it’s so hard to do! As a young professional, I can say a wholehearted “Oof da!” when it comes to letting go. Letting go of the angry words, the negative labeling words, or the deep fears of not being enough, and focus on those things that matter as though the effect is there. But if we can practice the art of learning from and letting go (not ascribe value from those previous experiences), it will allow us to concentrate on what is important in the here and now, focus on what is important and what makes us happy! 
  1. Stay Connected 
  1. Speaking of what makes us happy, loneliness is not a contributing factor to happiness, rather several negative factors such as depression. Time and again, we learn that relationships are critical to life as human beings. This study brings this critical factor once again to the forefront. Researchers at the Harvard Study found that there is a strong correlation between happiness and an individual’s close relationships. This does not necessarily mean family, but can mean friends and social circles. Dr. Waldinger, (Fourth director of the study) states “Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation, which are automatic mood boosters, and isolation is a mood buster.” So, how do we stay connected? Great question, as finding community, especially as an adult (and an introvert) can be extremely difficult! While Bumble and Meetup can be great resources, don’t underestimate the community events, volunteering at a cause you have a passion for, and community groups (such as faith communities or gardening communities).  

Please contact us with any further questions you have regarding happiness! We would love to hear from you! Give us a call at 847-854-4333 for a free 15-mniute consultation!  

Mineo, L. (2018, November 26). Over nearly 80 years, Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life. Good Genes are Nice, but Joy is Better. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/