What The Longest-Running Study on Happiness Reveals

What The Longest-Running Study on Happiness Reveals


  • The video explores the question of what leads to a happy life.
  • Many people believe that money and achievements are important for happiness.

The Longest Study on Human Development

  • The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest-running study on human development, started in 1938.
  • The study follows participants throughout their entire lives, examining their choices and their effects on happiness.
  • The study has found that relationships are key to happiness and health.

The Importance of Physical Health

The Power of Relationships

  • Relationships have a significant impact on happiness and health.
  • Having strong social connections increases the likelihood of survival and longevity.
  • Being in a satisfying marital relationship is a strong predictor of happiness and health.
  • Loneliness has negative effects on mental and physical health, comparable to smoking or obesity.
  • Social isolation increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cognitive decline.

Quality Over Quantity

  • The quality of close relationships matters more than the number of connections.
  • Feeling well-connected to others is essential for happiness and health.
  • Loneliness affects people of all ages, and technological advancements have contributed to increased social isolation.

The Role of Money and Achievements

  • Money and achievements do not guarantee happiness.
  • Meaningful work can contribute to happiness, but there is no happiness plateau beyond a certain income level.
  • Higher incomes can lead to increased happiness, especially for individuals who are already happy.

The Practice of Cultivating Relationships

  • Cultivating relationships should be treated as a practice similar to physical fitness.
  • Regularly engaging in actions that strengthen relationships, such as spending time with loved ones, leads to greater happiness.
  • Positive changes in relationships can occur unexpectedly at any age.


  • Relationships are crucial for a happy life, and people should prioritize and invest in them.
  • Physical health, meaningful work, and financial stability also play a role in overall well-being.

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