- Older people are up to 35% less likely to die if they report feeling happy, study finds
- Absence of happiness may be more important than presence of negative emotions
- Regions of brain involved in happiness are also involved in blood-vessel function
Being happy doesn't just improve the quality of your life. According to a new study, it may increase the quantity of your life as well.
Older people were up to 35% less likely to die during the five-year study if they reported feeling happy, excited, and content on a typical day. And this was true even though the researchers took factors such as chronic health problems, depression, and financial security out of the equation.
"We had expected that we might see a link between how happy people felt over the day and their future mortality, but we were struck by how strong the effect was," says Andrew Steptoe, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at University College London, in the United Kingdom.
Previous studies on happiness and longevity have largely relied on the participants' ability to recall how they felt during a certain period of time in the past. These recollections aren't always accurate, though, and to get around this problem Steptoe and his colleagues asked more than