哈佛75年研究报告:什么样的人才能活得更美好?

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导读 在这75年间,哈佛大学的研究显示:发展得最好的人是那些把精力投入关系,尤其是家人、朋友和周围人群的人。



以下为Dr. Robert Waldinger 演讲内容:


生命进程中,是什么让我们保持健康和幸福?如果你现在开始着手规划未来最好的人生,你会把时间和精力花在哪里?回答有很多种,我们已经被无以计数的有关生活中最重要事物的图景轰炸了。媒体上充斥着那些富有、高声望、建立起自己事业帝国的成功人士故事。并且我们对这些故事坚信不疑。有个最新的调查,询问1980-2000年生的年轻人,他们最重要的人生目标有哪些。超过80%的人说,他们主要的生活目标是要变富有。这群年轻人中,还有50%说他们另一个主要生活目标是成名。


What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and your energy? There are lots of answers out there. We are bombarded with images, what’s most important in life. The media are filled with stories of people who are rich and famous and building empires at work. And we believe those stories. There’s a recent survey of millennials asking them what their most important life goals were. And over 80% said that the major life goal for them was to get rich. And another 50% of those same young adults said another major life goal was to become famous.


我们总是被告诫要投入工作,努力奋斗,完成更多。我们似乎觉得要生活得更好,这些就是我们需要追求的。可事实真是这样吗?这些真的是在人类生命历程中帮助他们保持幸福感的东西吗?


And we are constantly told to lean into work, and to push harder, and achieve more. We are given the impression that these are the things that we need to go after in order to have a good life. But is that true? Is that really what keeps people happy as they go through life?


人一生中所做的选择以及这些选择怎样影响他们,我们几乎无从得知。我们对于人生绝大多数的理解,是从他人的回忆中获得的。我们知道,人是不可能有完整清楚的记忆的。我们生命中大部分发生过的事情我们都遗忘了。有时我们记忆形成过程简直充满创造性。马克·吐温曾经说过类似的话。他说道,“我人生中一些最悲惨的事情根本就没发生过。” 研究显示,随着年龄的增长,我们实际上以一种更积极的方式在保存我们的记忆。我想起一张广告上说的:“任何时候开始拥有幸福的童年,都不算晚。


Pictures of entire lives, of the choices that people make and how those choices work out for them,those pictures are almost impossible to get. Most of what we know about human life, we know from asking people to remember the past. And as we know,hindsight is anything but 20/20. We forget vast amounts of what happens to us in our lives. And sometimes memory was downright creative. Mark Twain understood this. He’s quoted as saying, “some of the worst things in my life never happened”.(Laughter) And research shows us that we actually remember the past more positively as we get older. And I’m reminded of a bumper sticker that says, ‘it’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. (Laughter)


但要是我们能够观察整个人生呢?要是我们能从人们青少年时期一直追踪到老年,去观察到底什么才是真正能够帮助人们保持幸福、健康的东西呢?我们已经做到了。


But, what if we could watch entire lives as they unfold through time? What if we could study people from the time that they were teenagers all the way into old age, to see what really keeps people happy and healthy? We did that.


哈佛成人发展研究可能是目前有关成年人生活研究中历时最长的。75年间,我们追踪了724位男性。年复一年,我们询问他们的工作、家庭生活、他们的健康状况,当然我们在询问过程中并不知道他们的人生将会怎样。


这样的研究极为稀少。几乎所有类似的研究都在10年内流产了,原因可能是失访率太高,或者没有足够的经费支撑,或者研究者兴趣点转移或去世以后没有其他人接手。但是多亏了运气以及几代研究者的坚持,这项研究成活下来了。


在最早的724名男性中,大约有60位还在世,并继续参与这项研究,他们绝大多数都已经超过90岁了。现在我们正开始研究他们总数超过2000个的孩子们。而我是这项研究的第四任领导者。


The Harvard Studyof Adult Development may be the longest study of adult life, that’s ever been done. For 75 years, we’ve tracked the lives of 724 men. Year after year asking about their work, their home lives, their health, and of course asking all along the way without knowing how their life stories were going to turn out.Studies like this are exceedingly rare. Almost all projects of this kind fallapart within a decade, because too many people drop out of the study or funding for the research dries up, or the researchers get distracted or they die and nobody moves the ball further down the field. But through combination of luck and persistence of several generations of researchers, this study has survived. About 60 of our original 724 men are still alive, still participating in the study, most of them in their nineties. And we are now beginning to study themore than 2000 children of these men. And I’m the 4th director of the study.


从1938年起,我们追踪了2组男性。第一组在加入研究时还是哈佛大学大二的学生。他们属于Tom Brokaw所说的“最伟大的一代”。他们都在第二次世界大战期间完成大学学业。之后绝大多数人为战争工作。


另外一组我们追踪的群体是波士顿最贫穷区域的男孩。正是因为他们来自于20世纪30年代波士顿麻烦最多、最底层的家庭,才被选入我们的研究。多数人都住在出租屋里,许多甚至没有热的或冷的自来水。当他们入选研究之后,所有的青少年都接受面谈和医学检查。我们去他们家里对他们的父母进行访谈。


后来这群青少年长大成人,进入社会各行各业。有的成了工厂工人,成了律师、泥瓦匠、医生,有一位成为美国总统。有的成了酒精依赖者,一些患上精神分裂症。有的从社会底层一路爬升到上流社会。而一些人却沿着相反的方向走过这段人生旅程。


Since 1938, we’ve tracked the lives of 2 groups of men. The first group started in the study when they were sophomores at Harvard College. They were from, what Tom Brokaw has called, the greatest generation. They all finished college during World War II. And then most went off to serve in the war. And the second group that we followed was a group of boys from the Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. Boys, who were chosen for this study specifically because they were from some of the most troubled and disadvantaged families in Boston of the 1930s. Most lived in tenements, many without hot and cold running water. When they entered the study, all of theseteenagers were interviewed, they were given medical exams. We went to their homes and we interviewed their parents. And then these teenagers grew up into adults who entered all walks of life. They became factory workers and lawyers and bricklayers and doctors, and one president of the United States. Some developed alcoholism. A few developed schizophrenia. Some climbed the social ladder from the bottom all the way to the very top. And some made that journey in the opposite direction.


这项研究的发起者无论如何也不可能想到,75年之后我能够站在这里,告诉你们这项研究仍然在继续。每两年,我们充满耐心和辛勤的研究人员打电话给我们的研究对象,询问是否能够再寄给他们一套有关他们生活的问卷。


波士顿城郊的许多研究对象问我们:“你们怎么总是不断地想要研究我?我的生活没什么意思啊。”而哈佛的毕业生从没问过这个问题。为了得到他们人生最清晰的画卷,我们不仅仅只是寄给他们问卷。我们在他们的客厅里对他们进行访谈。我们从他们的医生那里获取医疗记录。我们获取他们的血样,扫描他们的大脑。我们和他们的孩子们交谈。我们用摄像机记录他们和自己的妻子谈论最隐秘的担忧。大概十年前,我们终于询问他们的妻子们,是否愿意作为研究对象加入我们的研究。很多女士都说:“你知道,是时候了。”


The founders of this study would never, in their wildest dreams, have imagined that I would be standing here today, 75 years later, telling you that the study still continues. Every 2 years, our patient and dedicated research staff calls up our men and asked them whether we could send them yet one more set of questions about their lives. Many of the intercity Boston men ask us, “Why do you keep wanting to study me? My life just isn’t that interesting”. The Harvard men never asked that question. (Laughter) To get the clearest picture of these lives, we don’t just send them questionnaires. We interviewed them in their living rooms. We get their medical records from their doctors. We draw their blood. We scanned their brains. We talk to their children. We videotaped them talking with their wives about their deepest concerns. And when about a decade ago we finally asked the wives if they would join us as members of this study, many of the women said, “you know,it’s about time”. (Laughter)


那么我们学到了什么?我们从这些人生活中提取出来的长篇累牍的信息到底教会我们什么?其实,完全无关财富、名声或者拼命工作。我们从这项长达75年的研究中得到的最清晰的信息是:良好的关系让我们更快乐,更健康。就这样!


So what have we learned? What are the lessons that come from that tens of thousands of pages of information that we’ve generated on these lives. Well the lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: good relationships keep us happier and healthier.Period!


对于关系,我们学到了三条。第一条是,社会连结真的对我们有益,而孤独却有害。


事实证明,和家庭、朋友和周围人群连结更紧密的人更幸福。他们身体更健康,他们也比连结不甚紧密的人活得更长。而孤单的体验是有害的。和不孤独的人相比,那些比自己所希望的样子更孤单的人觉得自己更不幸福,他们到中年时健康状况退化地更快,他们的大脑功能衰退更早,而且他们的寿命更短。令人遗憾的是,任何一个时刻,每5个美国人中就有不只1个说自己孤独。我们知道,在人群中你也可能感到孤独,在婚姻中你也可能感到孤独。


We’ve learned 3 big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections arereally good for us and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community are happier. They are physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People, who are more isolated than they want to be from others, find that they’re less happy, their health declines earlier in mid-life, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is, that at any given time, more than 1 in 5 Americans will report, that they are lonely. And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd, and you can be lonely in a marriage.


所以我们学到的第二条信息是,起决定作用的不是你拥有的朋友的数量,不是你是否在一段稳定的亲密关系中,而是你的亲密关系的质量。


事实证明,处于冲突之中真的对我们的健康有害。举个例子,充满冲突而没有感情的婚姻,对我们的健康非常不利,甚至有可能比离婚还糟。而生活在良好、温暖的关系中是有保护作用的。


当我们追踪我们的研究对象到他们的80岁之后,我们希望回顾他们的中年生活,来看看我们是否能在那时预测谁会享有幸福健康的晚年,谁不会。当我们把所有有关他们50岁的信息都整合起来之后,发现能够预测他们晚年生活的不是他们的中年胆固醇水平,而是他们对所在亲密关系的满意程度。50岁时对自己的亲密关系最满意的人,80岁时最健康。而良好、亲密的关系似乎能缓冲我们在衰老过程中遇到的坎坷。


我们生活的最幸福的伴侣,无论男女,在他们80岁之后都说,当他们感到更多躯体疼痛时,他们的心情依然快乐。而那些处于不幸关系中的人,当他们感受到更多躯体疼痛时,这些疼痛被增加的情感痛苦给放大了。


So the 2nd big lesson that we learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you are in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflicts is really bad for our health. High conflicted marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health - perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships, is protective. Once we’ve followed our men all the way into their 80s, we wanted to look back at them at mid-life, and to see if we can predict who was going to grow into a happy, healthy octogenarian and who wasn’t. And when we gather together, everything we knew about them at age 50, it wasn’t their middle age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people, who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50, were the healthiest at age 80. And good close relationships seem to buffer us from some of the slings and arrows of getting old. Our most happily partnered men and women, reported in their 80s, that on the days when they had more physical pain, their moods stayed just as happy. But the people who were in unhappy relationships, on the days when they reported more physical pain, it was magnified by more emotionalpain.


第三条我们学到的关于关系对我们健康的影响是,良好的关系不仅只是保护我们的身体,也能保护我们的大脑。


研究表明,在80岁之后依然处在对另一个人安全依恋关系中是有保护性的。在关系中真的感到自己能在需要时可以依赖另一个人的人们,他们的保持清晰记忆力的时间更长。而感到自己在关系中真的无法依赖另一个人的人群,他们将更早出现记忆力衰退。而那些良好的关系,并不一定要一直保持平顺。一些 80-89 岁老年夫妇,他们可能一天到晚都在吵架。但只要他们感到自己真的能在困难时刻依赖另一个人时,他们根本就不会记得那些争吵了。所以我们学到的是,良好、亲密的关系有利于我们的健康和完好状态。这是老智慧,是祖母和牧师的忠告。


And the 3rd big lesson that we learned about relationships on our health is, that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out, that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective. And the people who are in a relationship that they really feel that they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay shaper longer. And people in a relationship where they feel they really can’t count on the other one, those are the people who would experience earlier memory decline. And those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of the octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out. But as long as they felt that they can really count on the other one when they are going out tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories. So, this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being; this is the wisdom that’s as old as the hills. It’s your grandmother’s advice, and your pastor’s.


为什么明白这个道理这么难?就拿巨大的财富来说,我们知道,一旦我们的基本物质需求被满足了,财富就帮不上什么忙了。如果你从每年挣75,000美元提高到7500万美元,我们知道你的健康和快乐基本不会发生变化。而至于声望,媒体不断地入侵和缺乏隐私使得多数名人显著地不健康。这显然不会让人更快乐。至于拼命工作,有一条真理说,没有人在临死前觉得自己要是花更多时间在办公室就好了。


为什么这些这么难理解,这么容易就被忽视了?是啊,我们是人啊。我们真正喜欢的是快速解决方案,一种我们能得到的,又能让我们生活得好并且一直保持下去的东西。关系错综复杂,照顾家人和朋友是繁重的工作,一点也不性感也不光芒万丈。而这也是终生的,绝无尽头。


在我们的75年研究中拥有最幸福退休生活的人是那些主动寻找玩伴来替代工作伙伴的人。正如调查中的年轻人一样,我们的研究对象中很多人在一开始还是青年的时候,真的相信声望、财富以及高成就是他们想要生活得更好就必须追求的。但随着时间的流逝,在这75年间,我们的研究显示:发展得最好的人是那些把精力投入关系,尤其是家人、朋友和周围人群的人。


Why is this so hard to get? For example, with respectful wealth, we know that once your basic material needs are met, wealth doesn’t do anything. If you go from making 75,000 dollars a year to 75 million, we know that your health and your happiness will change very little, if at all. When it comes to fame, the constant media intrusion and a lack of privacy make most famous people significantly less healthy. It certainly doesn’t keep them happier. And as for working harder and harder, there is that truism that nobody on their death bed ever wished that they had spent more time in their office. (Laughter)


Why is that so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human. What we really like is a quick fix - something we can get that will keep our lives good and keep them that way. Relationships are messy and they are complicated and they are hard work of tending to family and friends, that’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also life-long. It never ends. The people in our 75-year study with the happiest retirement were the people who had actively worked to replace workmates with new playmates. Just like the millennials in that recent survey, many of our men when they were starting out as young adults, really believed that fame and wealth and high achievements were what they needed to go after to have a good life. But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best are people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community.


那么你们呢?假如你们今年25,或者你们40,或者你们60岁。投入关系对你们来说是什么样的?可能性可能是无限的。也许是简单到拿和屏幕打交道的时间来和人打交道,或者通过一起做点什么新鲜事,比如散步或者约会,或者联系那个多年来不曾说过话的人,来点亮一段死气沉沉的关系。因为对一个总把小别扭放心里的人,这些看上去很平常的家庭敌对事件是会造成严重后果的。


So what about you?Let’s say you are 25, or you are 40 or you are 60. What might leaning into relationships even look like? Well, the possibilities are practically endless. It might be something as simple as replacing screen-time with people-time, or lightening up a stale relationship by doing something new together, long walks or date nights, or reaching out to that family member who you haven’t spoken to in years. Because those all too-common family feuds take a terrible toll on the people who hold the grudges.


我想用马克吐温的另一条名言来结束。一百多年前,当他回顾自己的一生时,他写下了,“生命如此短暂,我们没有时间争吵、道歉、伤心。我们只有时间去爱。


所以说,好的生活是建立在好的关系上的。而这种理念是值得传播的。谢谢大家!


I’d like to close with another quote from Mark Twain. More than a century ago, he was looking back on his life, and he wrote this,”there isn’t a time, so brief his life, for bickerings, apologies, heart-burnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving. ” But in instant, so to speak, for that, the good life is built with good relationships. And that’s an idea worth spreading. Thank you!


注:演讲人罗伯特.瓦尔丁格教授是哈佛大学医学院麻省总医院(MGH)精神科医师、精神分析治疗师。作为著名的成人发展研究所第四任所长,正在继续其前面三任自1940年以来一直进行的两项精神医学领域最负盛名的“人生全程心理健康研究”,一项是“哈佛精英研究”,另一项是“波士顿背街男孩研究”。在过去的75年里,从这两个项目产生了大量的学术论文、书籍,许多成果影响了精神医学、心理治疗的理论与实践。


在这个TED-X演讲里,罗伯特聚焦于所有人都关心的“什么是美好人生?”这个问题,用两个长达75年的纵向随访研究的成果,强调构成美好生活的最重要因素并非富有、成功,而是良好的心身健康及温暖、和谐、亲密的人际关系。


这两个研究项目的受试里,罗伯特提到,有一位后来成为美国总统的人。他出于医师、科学家的伦理操守而没有提其名,但有心人其实可以查到,1941年在哈佛读二年级的总统是哪一位。除了这位大人物,还有四位参议员、四位进过内阁的人。我2011年受罗伯特邀请,在其研究所做高级访问学者四周,研究了一位受试的卷宗,可惜只看到1967年的随访资料就得回国了。行前忍不住要罗伯特“剧透”一下,这位直到45岁还混得不怎么好的哈佛精英后来如何?他告诉我说,该人后来成为著名的剧作家!许多好莱坞电影与其有关。


罗伯特的前任乔治.范伦特可能是最高产的精神科医生之一。对这两个项目有兴趣的朋友可以看一本已经被翻译为中文的书——《怎样适应生活》。近期他出版了《Triumphs of Experience》。看完这个演讲觉得不过瘾的人就该去读这本书!



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