If you’re happy and you know it, then your lifespan will surely show it. Happy people are not only having more fun—they’re living longer, according to a comprehensive review of 160 studies.
The analysis included studies that examined emotional health and longevity and a sense of subjective well-being, or life satisfaction. The results are compelling—individuals who are positive, optimistic, and maintain low stress levels and healthy relationships outlive those who are negative, pessimistic, anxious, stressed, depressed, and generally unhappy. In fact, the correlation is so strong that some data indicates that a high sense of subjective well-being can add 4 to 10 years to life compared to a low sense of subjective well-being.
Many of the studies indicated that moods and emotions are associated with physiological responses and health outcomes. When moods are tracked over time, they are often associated with changes in immune and cardiovascular measures.
The implications of the research are staggering—and shine a spotlight on the importance of subjective well-being in society. Happiness and well-being are not only desirable, but also necessary and beneficial.
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The takeaway message? Stay positive, find joy in daily life, stay connected to community, and keep stress levels to a minimum. Not only will you enjoy life more, you’re likely to live longer.
Diener E, Chan, MY. Happy people live longer: Subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. 2011; 3(1):1- 43.