Change Absolutely Everything With One Hack

Robert Waldinger, M.D.

Energize and enliven your life by forging strong human connections.


In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… you’ll meet Robert Waldinger, M.D., who leads an extraordinary scientific study on happiness that’s still going strong after eight decades. The study set out to understand human health by what made people thrive.

Since 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has tracked two groups of men and their families with the goal of discovering what really makes for a good life. Along the way, thousands of questions were asked, and hundreds of measurements were taken—from brain scans to blood work. Three strong themes emerged from the study:

  • Social connections are really good for you. Loneliness kills.
  • It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.
  • Good close relationships don’t just protect your body, they protect your brain.

Dr. Waldinger (who’s only the fourth director in the study’s history) combined those lifelong case studies with modern psychological research in his new book, co-authored with Marc Schulz, Ph.D., “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.”

“What is a good life?” Dr. Waldinger asks. “Well, what we found—which initially we didn’t even believe—was that a good life is built on a foundation of solid relationships with other people. We didn’t believe it because how could relationships prevent you from getting heart disease? How could relationships affect how likely you were to get demented or to get arthritis? We just didn’t understand how that worked. So, we’ve spent the last 10 years of this study looking at exactly how relationships get into our bodies and change us for the better.”

This discussion gives you real-life tools to hack your happiness. You’ll learn things like:

  • how relationships improve your physical, mental and emotional health. (More than you know!)
  • how to evaluate the effect of your relationships on your well-being. (Don’t be dragged down.)
  • what social fitness is and how to practice it. (Yes, it’s a flex.)
  • ways to enliven and energize your relationships. (Energy totally matters.)
  • why casual and work relationships matter more than you think. (A surprisingly big contribution.)

“Part of what we know everybody needs in order to thrive is a sense that there are at least one or two people in the world who they feel really have their back, who would be there if they needed them,” Dr. Waldinger says.

Watch this episode on YouTube!

“The advice I would give across the board no matter what age you are is stay invested. Don't do quiet quitting from your life, whether that's at work or in your relationships. Quiet quitting is deadening.”

Robert Waldinger, M.D.

More about Dr. Robert Waldinger: He’s a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst; and he directs a psychotherapy teaching program for Harvard psychiatry residents. He co-founded the Lifespan Research Foundation, which draws from decades of research on human thriving and happiness. He’s a Zen master (Roshi) and teaches meditation in New England and around the world.

Enjoy the show!

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