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Harvard study: What makes us live better? -2

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We've learned 3 big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really 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.

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。

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 emotional pain.

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。

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.

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。

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.

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。(笑)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。

2016-06-23

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