The concept of happiness as been explored in countless ways over the past years, yet it seems that modern society has been misguided when it comes to understanding the true drivers of happiness and well-being. For the past 20 years, Dr. Marc Schulz has been involved in a groundbreaking 80-year study of happiness – in fact, the world’s longest scientific study of happiness – and he joins us today to share his findings. The renewed focus he’s brought to the study is one that investigates relationships and their powerful effect on our overall well-being.

Marc is a practicing therapist with postdoctoral training in health and clinical psychology at Harvard Medical School and is the associate director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. He also acts as the Sue Kardas Ph.D. 1971 Chair in Psychology, directs the Data Science Program, and previously chaired the psychology department and Clinical Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at Bryn Mawr College. His credentials extend to his authorship of the recently published book, The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness.

In this episode, Marc presents an overview of the study in question and breaks down modern society’s misconceptions about the drivers of happiness. We discover the initial intention of the study and the link it unearthed between loneliness and physical health problems. Marc explains the kinds of relationships essential for our well-being and provides an example demonstrating the remarkable impact of connection.

“The good life” encompasses more than just happiness, and today, we are encouraged to lean in and experience the full spectrum of life, for the sake of our overall well-being. Science is becoming increasingly able to explain the correlation between our emotional experiences and our physical health, so tune in to discover how best to optimize your experience and subsequently, your health. 


Key Highlights From This Episode:

  • Introducing Marc Schulz, Ph.D., and today’s topic: how to attain the “good life”. [01:12]
  • An overview of the 80-year study of happiness and Dr. Marc Schulz’s involvement in it. [02:54]
  • The initial intention of the study. [07:55]
  • Modern society’s greatest misconceptions about happiness and well-being. [09:18]
  • The link between loneliness and physical health problems. [11:55]
  • The full spectrum that the “good life” encompasses. [19:05]
  • The impact of loneliness at work and the value of shared experience. [24:07]
  • The role of science in explaining how our emotional experience impacts our physical health. [30:56]
  • An example of a finding demonstrating the remarkable impact of connection. [33:41]


For More Information:

Marc Schulz

Marc Schulz on LinkedIn
The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: 

Dr. Robert Waldinger’s TED Talk: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

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“One of the perspectives [Bob Waldinger and I] brought when we joined the study was a renewed focus on the context of the individual lives including the relationships that we are immersed in.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:07:00]

“It’s relationships that keep us healthy and happy through [our] lifespan. It’s not the things that we’re often led to believe. It’s not about money, success, [or] achievement.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:09:33]

“The real driver of happiness and success in life is the quality of your relationships; your connections to others.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:09:52]

“A sense of feeling lonely is corrosive to one’s health and well-being.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:10:53]

“The good life isn’t only about happiness. It’s about leaning in and experiencing the joys and the sorrows of life.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:21:17]

“You can’t really live unless you take some chances in life.” — Marc Schulz, Ph.D. [0:23:03]


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