At Kregel & Co., we like to keep perspective on the bigger picture. One topic we’ve been talking about lately is happiness.

Our team reviewed and discussed a 75-year study on happiness that is being conducted as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. This is the longest-running research study being done on healthy aging.

The study is following two groups of participants — Harvard graduates from the early 1940s, and men who grew up in the inner-city neighborhoods of Boston around the same time — to trace the biological, relational and social variables that contribute to healthy aging. The conclusions were that the happiest people were those with the warmest relational connections.

Our team saw a correlation in the two kinds of happiness:

  1. Hedonic – about feeling good [pleasure]
  2. Eudaimonic – about living a purpose-filled life [meaning]

Hedonia without eudaimonia leads to empty pleasure, and eudaimonia without hedonia leads to dryness. That’s why it’s so important to seek a balance of enjoyment and meaning. At the core of joy and meaning is “interesting,” so something that is interesting to you will help embed pleasure and meaning (hedonia and eudaimonia) into your life.

Take a look at this 12-minute TED Talk from 2015, where the current director of the study shared many of the initial findings.