Happiness key to longevity, well beingMarch 2nd, 2011 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 2 (IANS) There is a “clear and compelling evidence” that happy people live longer and experience greater well being than their unhappy peers, a study says.
The findings, based on a review of 160 studies of human and animal subjects, are the most comprehensive so far of the evidence linking happiness to health outcomes.
University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener analysed long-term studies of human subjects, experimental human and animal trials, the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being reports.
“We reviewed eight different types of studies,” Diener said. “And the general conclusion from each type of study is that your subjective well-being — that is, feeling positive about your life — contributes to both longevity and better health.”
For instance, a study that followed nearly 5,000 university students for more than 40 years, found that those who were most pessimistic as students tended to die younger than their peers, according to an Illinois statement.
An even longer-term study that followed 180 Catholic nuns from early adulthood to old age found that those who wrote positive autobiographies in their early 20s tended to outlive those who wrote more negative accounts of their young lives.
“I was almost shocked and certainly surprised to see the consistency of the data,” Diener said. “All of these different kinds of studies point to the same conclusion - that health and then longevity, in turn, are influenced by our mood states.”
Lab experiments on humans have found that positive moods reduce stress-related hormones, increase immune function and promote the speedy recovery of the heart after exertion.
In other studies, marital conflicts and high hostility in married couples were associated with slow wound healing and a poorer immune response.
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Tags: animal subjects, animal trials, applied psychology, autobiographies, catholic nuns, early adulthood, health outcomes, human subjects, illinois professor, illinois statement, immune function, immune response, lab experiments, marital conflicts, married couples, mood states, professor emeritus, speedy recovery, subjective well being, wound healing