Do you ever think about what it would feel like to know about the past and present of adult life?
Not asking someone to recall their past events, instead start with them when they are young and keep track of their wellness and health until the day they die?
We’ve been at the forefront of the studies for over 78 years, and we started in the late 30s through the early 40s with a group of men that volunteer to be part of the longest historical studies that solely focus on adult life.
The Adult Development Study from Harvard and medical suction has tracked the lives of 724 people from the time that they were adolescent into old, 456 boys from Boston’s city and 268 Harvard College sophomores.
Researchers have monitored mental and physical health, friendships, work lives and romances using medical record, scans of blood and brain, questionnaires, and interviews. Below are five big lessons from those studies on what contributes to a good life that we’ve learned:
Lesson 1: Happy childhoods matter.
There is a prediction that you will have secure and warm relationships with those closest to you in adulthood when you have warm and serious relationships with parents in childhood.
Warm childhood predicts more secure relationships with a partner at the age of 80 after reaching across decades. It’s also predicted that people are less likely to become depressed at age 50 after a close relationship with one sibling in childhood.
There is a high tendency of better physical and mental health in adulthood all the way into old age with warmer childhood relationships.
Lesson 2: Fostering the welfare of the next generation can relieve the sting of challenging childhoods.
People who grow up with fortunate childhood are happier when compared to those who grow up in challenging childhood environments (economic uncertainty, chaotic families).
However, by the time those who mentor the next generation and guide younger adults at home or work reach the middle age of 50 to 65, they are happier and adjust better than those who do not. The disadvantage of growing up sting also reduced this type of maturation needed to raise younger people.
Lesson 3: Coping efficiently with stress has lifelong advantages.
We all have different ways of relieving anxiety and managing stress.
Some people tend to undergo difficult problems and deal with what is troublesome while some tend to ignore uncomfortable facts.
For instance, someone starts missing important deadline after been angry with his or her boss. Forget about it; they might find a way to take up his issues directly with that boss.
We found that those who have a better relationship with others cope with stress and anxiety by engaging more directly with the reality of life rather than pushing it away.
It’s easier for others to deal with them with this coping style, which in turn makes people want to help them. This suggests healthier aging in your 60s and 70s, and they end up having more social support and better relationship. They also end up with sharp brains for those who use these more adaptive coping styles in middle age.
Lesson 4: Breaking the bad habits, earlier in life makes a big difference.
Observing people smoking habit across childhood, those that quit smoking earlier are likely to live longer, and they are less liable to develop lung disease than those who do not quit or who quit later in life.
Our research differs from some studies, once you are tobacco-free for 15-years or more find no change in risk of disease and death. Getting off the couch and begin to exercise in life help your brain to be sharp, your body immune system will be strong, and you’ll stay healthy longer in life.
Lesson 5: Time with others makes us happier.
People report their time with others as the most meaningful part of their life and what they are proud of when they look back on their lives. Time with a close partner guard us against loneliness that comes with increased physical pain while time with other people makes us happier every day.