It gives me great pleasure, and not a little anxiety, to launch this blog, which I am calling Happy-Well in honor of George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist/researcher who is the author of Aging Well.
In his book, Vaillant reports on the results of a long-term study where men and women were monitored for decades. Here is an exerpt from Weight Management for Your Life which further describes the study (p. 8):
Vaillant writes about factors that seem to predict which research subjects turn out to be Sad-Sick (including dead) and which Happy-Well. One description of the Happy-Well group highlights their “learning to live with neither too much desire and adventure nor too much caution and self-care. … Rather, successful aging means giving to others joyously whenever one is able, receiving from others gratefully whenever one needs it, and being greedy enough to develop one’s own self in between.” After reviewing the data on all 1406 subjects Dr. Vaillant was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of the significant predictors of positive outcome were things we have some measure of control over: “The protective factors … – a stable marriage, the ability to make lemonade from lemons, avoiding cigarettes, modest use of alcohol, regular exercise, high education, and maintaining normal weight – allow us to predict thirty years in the future.
As you will see by glancing at the categories list, I plan to comment on a variety of health and wellness related issues, particularly ones which we can affect by changing our behavior. I hope you read and benefit from my postings, and I look forward to hearing from you!