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Researchers Tell Us 5 Lessons To Help Us Thrive

By Sandy Schroeder

What do you think contributes the most to a good life? Health, wealth or self-discipline? Harvard Health researchers came up with five answers in a remarkable study that spanned lifetimes.

The researchers tracked 724 men from their teens to final years, studying their health, friendships, romances, and careers. They created one of the longest studies ever done on adult life, moving with the subjects for more than 70 years. They used medical records, brain scans, interviews and questionnaires to complete the study.

Five life lessons came out of their final analysis.

Learn how to cope with stress – People who learn how to face stress and deal with it, rather than dodge it, often get along better in life as they get along well with others. It can be the difference in sitting down and talking through issues, versus ignoring or hiding out from tough situations. Learning good coping strategies also creates a healthier support system in old age, and may help people stay more alert. 

Understand childhood happiness matters – Not surprising, warm relationships in childhood tend to lead to more solid adult relationships, and better health. I think the people who have enjoyed loving parents and grandparents have great models to work from. If you feel you missed that, you might work even more to see that your children get that happiness. The study also found closeness with a sibling during childhood reduced the chances of adult depression.

Helping others improves life – People with difficult childhoods often struggle through adulthood. But then they may find happiness in mid-life by helping today’s youth. The ones who help younger adults, at work or at home, often find great satisfaction in mentoring. That reward may be a counterbalance to their difficult early years.

Getting rid of bad habits early helps – Learning the value of exercise early in life predicts better health, more alertness and a stronger immune system. The earlier the better works best to establish healthy habits that may extend life. As expected, people who give up smoking early tend to enjoy a healthier life and live longer.

Time shared enriches life – As people consider their lives, they frequently say the time spent with others really formed the most meaningful part of their lives. Daily interaction with loved ones was cited as one of the best indicators of happiness. As old age brought pain, having a close companion helped individuals stay calm and avoid depression.

This amazing study has a new goal as the researchers are now looking at the 1300 children of the men in the study. That should provide more suggestions for all of us to thrive.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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