Don't worry, be happy and live longer: scientific studies

NEW YORK Tue Mar 1, 2011 2:33pm EST

A model laughs while talking to other models backstage before the Varanasi 2011 Fall/Winter collection show during Buenos Aires Fashion Week, February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

A model laughs while talking to other models backstage before the Varanasi 2011 Fall/Winter collection show during Buenos Aires Fashion Week, February 22, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Today's lesson: be happy, live longer. Now science seems to back the glass half-full approach.

A review of more than 160 studies on the connection between a positive state of mind and overall health and longevity has found "clear and compelling evidence" that happier people enjoy better health and longer lives.

In fact, evidence linking an upbeat outlook and enjoyment of life to better health and longer life was stronger even than that linking obesity to reduced longevity, according to the review published on Tuesday in the journal "Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being."

"I was almost shocked, and certainly surprised, to see the consistency of the data," said Ed Diener, the University of Illinois psychology professor emeritus, who lead the review.

While Diener said a few studies he reviewed found the opposite, the "overwhelming majority ... support the conclusion that happiness is associated with health and longevity."

The review looked at eight different types of long-term studies and experimental trials of both human and animal populations.

For example, 5,000 university students studied for more than 40 years provided evidence that the most pessimistic students tended to die younger.

In the laboratory, positive moods were found to reduce stress-related hormones, increase immune function and help the heart recover following exertion.

Animals who lived in stressful conditions such as crowded cages had weaker immune systems and a higher susceptibility to heart disease, and died at a younger age than those in less crowded conditions.

Diener noted that while current health edicts focus on obesity, smoking, eating habits and exercise, "it may be time to add 'be happy and avoid chronic anger and depression' to the list."

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)

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Comments (5)
vksaini wrote:
Keeping in view this aspect of life style let me introduce to readers my poem:

LIVE FOR THE DAY & LIVE YOUR WAY
***********************************

Hey! Why repent or grumble ye past,
Simply ignore, forget, dump & recast,
Must ye aspire to live your best?
Best ye must use the acquired nest.

Lastly ye find the only one golden way,
That is how best ye live for the day!

Very wise to think, plan & chart the future,
Fix not square pegs in round holes to suture,
Happiness, prosperity & achievement for future,
Must ye not spoil the day for ever bright future!

Lastly ye find the only one golden way,
That is how best ye live for the day!

Every dawn brings ye another opportunity,
How best ye perform the expected day’s duty,
Miss not the element of love, pity & beauty,
Must ye yearn for happiness, solace & divinity!

Lastly ye find the only one golden way,
That is how best ye live for the day!

26th. March, 1998. —– By
2200 Hrs. Mumbai, India. V.K.Saini

Mar 02, 2011 7:16am EST  --  Report as abuse
karojen wrote:
I’m toast

Mar 03, 2011 12:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Mobster wrote:
and what’s the point of living longer again?

Mar 04, 2011 3:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
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