The Grant Study is a 75-year longitudinal study of Harvard graduates (1939-1944) and ‘disadvantaged’ youths growing up in Boston (1940-1945). All white American men, the subjects were followed for 68 years. One of the Harvard graduates was John F Kennedy.
Subjects were evaluated at least every two years using questionnaires, medical records and personal interviews. Data was gathered about their mental and physical health, career enjoyment and their relationships.
For 40 years, George Vaillant has led the study and written books on the findings. Despite the mass of data and analysis accumulated, Vaillant sums up the key to happiness “Happiness is love. Full stop.”
- What goes right is more important than what goes wrong
- A happy childhood is preferable but an unhappy one can be overcome
- The ability to achieve [emotional] intimacy is the strongest predictor of health and happiness in old age
- Participants did manage to change over time; many found love and happiness for the first time later in life
Happiness at work
- Meaningful work leads to happier participants and generates more output
- Help others – those who are altruistic at work are happier – according to the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (Class of 1957), those who reported that helping others was important in their work were still reporting as happier people 30 years down the line
- The General Social Survey of data from 49 countries also shows the link between happiness and helping others at work.
- Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report highlights the importance of engagement and friendship in the workplace.
- Camaraderie helps create a common sense of purpose in the workplace
And finally, if you’re a librarian don’t read articles such as this which define librarianship as a dead end job and imply we’d all be a lot better off if we became nutritionists….
Additional source: Huffington Post
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