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Starting in 1938, the Harvard Department of Psychiatry initiated the Grant Study in order to uncover the key to happiness and healthy longevity by tracking the lives of 724 men for 75 years. Participants shared their social histories, answered written surveys every other year, participated in face-to-face interviews every fifteen years, and completed physical examinations every five years along with brain scans, video interviews and more.
The participants included 268 sophomores from Harvard College and 456 teenage boys from the poorest neighborhoods in Boston’s inner city. They were interviewed about their school, work and home lives. Some would go on to become bricklayers, lawyers, schizophrenics and alcoholics; one even went on to become President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
So what did the researchers find? Robert Waldinger, the fourth-generation director of the study, recently shared their findings in a TEDx talk: good relationships keep us happier and healthier. We have long known that being social is correlated with elated moods and longer lifespan. Both our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™, an in-home activities program to promote brain health, and our Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to healthy aging, promote socialization along with a healthy diet, exercise, mentally-engaging activities and a sense of calm for healthy longevity.