What makes a good life?

“Good relationships keep us happier and healthier – period.”

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

(The following video is set to start at 6 minutes in, but you can manually start at the beginning, for background to the study, prior to its conclusions).

On a personal note, I would describe the experience of loneliness as a quale experience (an ineffable conscious experience, as distinct from any physical or computational process). In other words, you cannot know it without a first hand experience, and you will probably never have this experience whilst you are in regular engagement with friends and family, or living with one or more others. (The only exception to this, according to the above study, is a relationship where two people are of detriment to each other – so the quality of our close relationships matters).