A walk on the bright side


A walk on the bright side

It's difficult to make sense of the new low points that South Africa continually reaches. ALI VAN WYK finds it helps to get a brisk early morning breath of fresh air.

A PROJECT that has long fascinated me is the world's longest-running study of what makes people happy — the Harvard Study of Adult Development. It began in 1938, setting out to conduct annual assessments of the physical and emotional well-being of 724 young men, and it is still going.

Robert Waldinger is the fourth study director of the project, and  you can watch his popular TED Talk (https://youtu.be/8KkKuTCFvzI) about it or read his book, The Good Life. It tells you exactly how to lead a happy life. The previous study director, George Vaillant, also wrote books about the project, including Triumphs of Experience in 2012.

What stuck in my mind is the finding that men who cultivate a healthy lifestyle by the age of 50 have a good chance of ageing happily and maintaining good relationships. But the chance of a happy old age is much slimmer for men who, at 50, still live recklessly, are overweight, and engage in daily smoking and drinking...

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