3 cheacht (eolaíoch) de sonas

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3 cheacht (eolaíoch) de sonas

3 cheacht (eolaíoch) de sonas
What is the secret to a successful life? Harvard University psychiatrist Robert Waldinger has scanned the lives of more than 700 Americans for the answer. In an online conference, he gives us 3 simple but essential lessons to be happy on a daily basis.

How to learn to be happy?

To succeed in life, you have to… Become famous? Work more to earn more ? Cultivate a vegetable garden? What are the life choices that make us happy ? Professor Robert Waldinger of Harvard University (Massachusetts) has a fairly precise idea. At the end of 2015, he revealed during a TED conference watched by several million Internet users the conclusions of an exceptional study.

For 75 years, several generations of researchers have analyzed the lives of 724 men in the United States. « The Harvard Study on Adult Development is perhaps the longest study of adult life ever ” advances Professor Waldinger.

It all started in 1938, when two groups of teenagers and young adults from Boston were selected. One consists ofstudents of the famous Harvard University, while the other comes from the neighborhoods very disadvantaged ón gcathair. “These teenagers grew up […] they became workers, lawyers, masons, doctors, one of them President of the United States [John F. Kennedy]. Some have become alcoholics. Some schizophrenics. Some have climbed the social ladder from the bottom to the top, and others have come the other way » relates the scientist.

“What are the lessons that emerge from the tens of thousands of pages of information we have gathered about these lives? Well the lessons are not about wealth, or fame, or work. ' No. According to the findings of the study, having a fulfilling life is within everyone’s reach.  

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Lesson 1: Surround yourself

Living happy is above all privilege social relations “People who are more socially connected to their family, friends, community, are happier, are physically healthier, and live longer than those who are less well connected. ” explains the researcher. In 2008, the INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) also affirmed in a report that the life of a couple positively influenced well-being throughout life. 

Os a choinne sin, feeling lonely everyday would be “Toxic”. Isolated people are not only more unhappy, but their health and cognitive abilities also decline faster. In summary “Loneliness kills”. And in fact, according to neuroscientists, the experience of social isolation activates the same areas of the brain … as the pian fisiceach1.

Give and you will receive

Researchers have shown that adopting a behavior turned towards the other increases well-being in children and adults, regardless of social group. Remember a cadeau that they had done, for example, made the participants of a study níos sona. They were more likely to spend money on a gift again after this experience2.

In another study, researchers scanned the brains of people who donated money to an organization carthanachta3. Result: whether we give or receive money, it is the same area of ​​the brain which activates! To be more precise, the area in question became even more active when the subjects gave money than when they received it. What part of the brain are we talking about? From the ventral striatum, a subcortical region associated with the reward and pleasure in mammals.

Lesson 2: Maintain Good Relationships

It is not enough to be surrounded to be happy, it is also necessary to be good people. “It’s not just the number of friends you have, whether or not you’re in a relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships who counts “ summarizes Robert Waldinger.

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You thought you were safe from loneliness with your 500 friends Facebook ? A 2013 study by Ethan Kross and colleagues at the University of Michigan suggested that the more subjects connected to the social network, the more they were brónach4. A conclusion which had earned the giant of Palo Alto to be described as “anti-social” network in different media. We know since 2015 that the reality is more subtle. The same researchers determined that it was passivity on Facebook that was associated with low mood. So there is no risk of depression when you interact with your friends on the network.

better alone than in a bad comapny

Robert Waldinger emphasizes another essential aspect of relationships, the absence of conflicts « conflictual marriages, for example, without much affection, are very bad for our health, maybe even worse than divorce ”. To live happily and in good health, better alone than in a bad comapny.


To verify whether popular wisdom is telling the truth, a research team relied on one of the characteristics of happiness5. We know that happy people have a greater ability than depressed people to keep a positive emotion. The researchers therefore placed electrodes on the faces of 116 volunteers in order to measure the duration of their smiles following a positive stimuli. Schematically, if the electrodes reveal a smile that lasts longer, we can think that the subject presents a greater level of well-being, and vice versa. The results showed that people exposed to frequent conflicts within the couple presented shorter responses to positive emotions. Their level of well-being was, in fact, lower.

Lesson 3: be happy to age better

Professor Waldinger discovered the third ” ceacht saoil ”By looking more closely at the medical records of the men in the study followed for 75 years. With his team, they looked for the factors that could predict happy and healthy aging. “It was not their cholesterol level at that age that predicted how they would age” summarizes the researcher. “The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at 50 were those in better health at age 80. “

Not only do good relationships make us happier, but they have a real protective effect on health. By improving tolerance to pian mar shampla “Our happiest male and female couples reported, around age 80, that on days when the physical pain was greatest, their moods remained just as happy. But people who were unhappy in their relationships, on the days they reported the most physical pain, it was made worse by more emotional pain. “


Complicit relationships don’t just protect our bodies, adds psychiatrist “They also protect our brains”. Among the 724 study participants, those who were in a fulfilling relationship had a Memoire “Géire” Níos faide. Conversely “Those who were in a relationship with the feeling of not being able to count on each other saw their memory decline earlier. ” 


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We have known since the dawn of time that happiness is shared. So why do we have so much difficulty applying it on a daily basis? “Well we are human. What we would like is an easy fix, something we can get that would make our lives beautiful. Relationships are messy and complicated, and clinging to family and friends is neither sexy nor glamorous. “


Finally, the psychiatrist chose to quote the writer Mark Twain who said in a letter to a friend, in 1886 “We don’t have time – so short is life – for bickering, apologies, animosity and settling scores. We only have time to love and just a moment, so to speak, to do it. “

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