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哈佛持续75年的研究找到幸福生活的秘密

更新时间:2016-4-5 10:26:11 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Secrets to a Happy Life, From a Harvard Study
哈佛持续75年的研究找到幸福生活的秘密

What does it take to live a good life?

怎样才能过上美好的生活?

Surveys show that most young adults believe that obtaining wealth and fame are keys to a happy life. But a long-running study out of Harvard suggests that one of the most important predictors of whether you age well and live a long and happy life is not the amount of money you amass or notoriety you receive. A much more important barometer of long term health and well-being is the strength of your relationships with family, friends and spouses.

调查显示,大多数年轻人认为,获取财富和名望是幸福生活的关键。但哈佛大学的一项长期研究表明,你能否老当益壮健康长寿,最重要的预测因子不是你聚敛的财富或者得到的恶名。你与家人、朋友和配偶间的亲密程度才是长期健康幸福更重要的晴雨表。

These are some of the findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a research project that since 1938 has closely tracked and examined the lives of more than 700 men and in some cases their spouses. The study has revealed some surprising – and some not so surprising – factors that determine whether people are likely to age happily and healthily, or descend into loneliness, sickness and mental decline.

以上是《哈佛成人发展研究》(Harvard Study of Adult Development)的部分结果。该研究项目自1938年启动以来密切跟踪并调查了700多人(在某些情况下,还包括他们的配偶)的生活。研究揭示了决定人是能够健康幸福地老去还是陷入孤独、疾病和智力下降的因素,其中一些出人意料,另一些则不那么让人惊讶。

The study’s current director, Robert Waldinger, outlined some of the more striking findings from the long-running project in a recent TED Talk that has garnered more than seven million views.

该研究的现任负责人罗伯特·瓦尔丁格(Robert Waldinger)在最近的一期TED(科技、娱乐和设计论坛)演讲中概述了一些更引人注目的发现,赢得了超过七百万人次的观看。

“We publish our findings in academic journals that most people don’t read,” said Dr. Waldinger, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “And so we really wanted people to know that this study exists and that it has for 75 years. We’ve been funded by the government for so many years, and it’s important that more people know about this besides academics.”

“我们在学术期刊上发表了研究结果,但大多数人都不会去读那些刊物,”瓦尔丁格博士说。他是哈佛医学院的精神病学临床教授。“我们真的很希望人们知道这项已持续75年之久的研究的存在。这么多年来我们一直得到政府的资助,因此,让学术圈以外的更多人了解这项研究非常重要。”

The study began in Boston in the 1930s with two very different groups of young men.

20世纪30年代,该研究在波士顿启动,对象是两组截然不同的年轻男性。

In one case, a team of researchers decided to track Harvard college students through adulthood to see what factors played important roles in their growth and success. “They thought there was too much emphasis placed on pathology at the time and that it would be really useful to study people who were doing well in their young adult development,” Dr. Waldinger said. The study recruited 268 Harvard sophomores and followed them closely, with frequent interviews and health examinations. In recent years the study has also incorporated brain scans, blood draws and interviews with the subjects’ spouses and adult children.

一组是哈佛大学的本科生,有一个研究团队对他们成年后的生活加以跟踪,想知道有哪些因素在他们的成长和成功中发挥了重要作用。瓦尔丁格博士说:“他们认为当时太过于强调病理学因素了。对成功的年轻成年人进行研究,应该能得到很多有用的信息。”这部分研究招募了268名哈佛大学的二年级学生,并对他们进行密切随访、频繁的面谈和体检。近年来,研究还包括脑部扫描、抽血以及访问受试者的配偶和成年子女等。

At around the same time the study began, a Harvard Law School professor named Sheldon Glueck started to study young men from some of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, including 456 who managed to avoid delinquency despite coming from troubled homes. Eventually the two groups were merged into one study.

大约在同一时间,哈佛法学院的教授谢尔登·格卢克(Sheldon Glueck)开始研究波士顿最贫困社区中的年轻人,该部分研究纳入了456名出身于问题家庭但未曾犯过罪的少年。最后,两部分研究合并成同一个项目。

Over the decades, the men have gone into all walks of life. They’ve become lawyers, doctors, businessmen and — in the case of one Harvard student named John F. Kennedy — president of the United States. Others went down different paths. Some became alcoholics, had disappointing careers or descended into mental illness. Those who remain alive today are in their 90s.

几十年过去了,这些男人进入了各行各业。有的人成了律师、医生或商人……一个名叫约翰·F·肯尼迪(John F. Kennedy)的哈佛学生甚至当上了美国总统。而其他人则走上了迥异的人生道路,沦为酒鬼、职场失意或者患上了心理疾病。至今仍然幸存的研究参与者都已经年逾九旬。

Through the years, the study has produced many notable findings. It showed, for example, that to age well physically, the single most important thing you could do was to avoid smoking. It discovered that aging liberals had longer and more active sex lives than conservatives. It found that alcohol was the primary cause of divorce among men in the study, and that alcohol abuse often preceded depression (rather than the other way around).

这些年的研究得出了许多值得注意的结果。例如,研究显示,要想健康地老去,你可以做到的最重要的一件事就是不要吸烟。研究还发现,自由派老年人比保守派的性生活更长更活跃。还有,饮酒是导致研究中男性离婚的首要原因,而且酗酒往往发生于抑郁症之前(而不是相反)。

The study has gone through several directors. Dr. Waldinger, who took over in 2003, is its fourth. He expanded the study so it focused not just on the men but also on their wives and children. The researchers began videotaping the couples in their homes, studying their interactions, and interviewing them separately about nearly every facet of their lives, even day-to-day spats.

有多名科学家先后领导了该研究。瓦尔丁格博士在2003年接手,成为了第四任负责人。他扩大了研究范围,将关注的对象从参与的男性扩展到了他们的妻子和孩子。研究人员开始摄录夫妻们的家庭生活,研究他们之间的互动,并就生活中的方方面面,甚至日常的口角分别对他们进行了访谈。

As the researchers looked at the factors throughout the years that strongly influenced health and well-being, they found that relationships with friends, and especially spouses, were a major one. The people in the strongest relationships were protected against chronic disease, mental illness and memory decline – even if those relationships had many ups and downs.

研究人员考察了这些年来对他们的健康幸福具有强烈影响的因素,发现与朋友尤其是配偶的关系非常重要,拥有强大感情纽带的人往往不会出现慢性疾病、精神疾病和记忆力下降——即使关系有起伏也没太大关系。

“Those good relationships don’t have to be smooth all the time,” Dr. Waldinger said. “Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker day in and day out. But as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

“关系亲密并不是说他们的感情必须始终如胶似漆,“瓦尔丁格博士说。“研究中一些八十多岁的老夫妻甚至天天斗嘴。但只要他们觉得在遇到困难的时候可以相互依赖和扶持,这些争执就不会对他们的记忆力造成损害。”

Dr. Waldinger found a similar pattern among relationships outside the home. The people who sought to replace old colleagues with new friends after retiring were happier and healthier than those who left work and placed less emphasis on maintaining strong social networks.

瓦尔丁格博士发现,在家庭以外的人际关系中也存在类似的模式。在退休后积极结交新朋友来取代旧同事的人比脱离工作后不用心维系强大社交网络的人更加快乐和健康。

“Over and over in these 75 years,” Dr. Waldinger said, “our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships with family, with friends and with community.”

瓦尔丁格博士说:“75年来,我们的研究一再显示,最能与家人、朋友和社区水乳交融的那些人过得最好。”

Dr. Waldinger acknowledged that the research showed a correlation, not necessarily causation. Another possibility is that people who are healthier and happier to begin with are simply more likely to make and maintain relationships, whereas those who are sicker gradually become more socially isolated or end up in bad relationships.

他承认研究发现的只是相关性,而非必然的因果关系。也可能是一开始就较为健康、更为快乐的人更容易与他人建立和维持良好的关系,而那些本来就病怏怏的人则倾向于将自己与世隔绝,最终与谁都不亲近。

But he said that by following the subjects for many decades and comparing the state of their health and their relationships early on, he was fairly confident that strong social bonds are a causal role in long-term health and well-being.

但他表示,经过几十年来对受试者的随访并比较他们现在与昔日的健康和人际关系水平,他可以信心十足地说,强大的社会纽带与长期的健康幸福之间存在因果关系。

So what concrete actions does he recommend?

那么,他建议我们采取哪些具体的行动?

“The possibilities are endless,” he said. “Something as simple as replacing screen time with people time, or livening up a stale relationship by doing something new together, long walks or date nights. Reach out to that family member 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.”

“有很多很多事可以做,”他说。“小到多跟人相处交流而不是一直看电视玩电脑刷手机,也可以通过一起从事新活动,比如散个长步或来个约会之夜什么的,让缺乏新意的关系重新热络起来。又或者联系一下你多年未说过话的家庭成员——因为这些司空见惯的家庭矛盾可是会让一个记仇的人付出惨重代价的哟。”

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