Scientists have confirmed the link between happiness and longevity

November 1, 2011 9:02

Happy risk of dying within five years is 35% less. Photo nataliavolkova.com.ua

Happy people do not just enjoy life and live longer.

A new study found that people who are in a good mood, have 35% less likely to die over the next five years compared with the sad people who found themselves in the same situation.

The traditional way to measure the happiness of man — just ask him about it. But over the past few decades, says psychologist and epidemiologist Andrew Steptoe of University College London, scientists realized that it is unreliable. It is not clear that this estimate people — their feelings or their memory. Besides, much depends on how and with what respondents compare their experiences.

"The English Longitudinal Study of Aging" tried to get more specific numbers. As part of the project in 2002 under surveillance for more than 11,000 people aged 50 years and older. In 2004, about 4,700 of them four times in a single day passed saliva samples and also rated their degree of happiness, excitement, satisfaction, anxiety, worry and fear. Saliva is still waiting for analysis on stress hormones, but a colleague of Mr. Steptoe Jane Wardle is published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," the poll results.

Of the 924 respondents who had other less positive feelings, 67 (7.3%) died within five years of the survey. In the group with the most positive emotions mortality was twice as follows: 50 died from 1399 people (3.6%). Of course, it is possible that people who have gone before, grieved by the deadly disease, or other factors. So the researchers adjusted the results for age, sex, demographic factors (wealth, education), the signs of depression, health status (including the presence of serious illness), and lifestyle (smoking, physical activity). But even after that, it turned out that the happy risk of dying within five years is 35% less.

Of course, this does not prove that happiness makes people live longer, said Mr. Steptoe. In addition, he notes, "We do not in any way want to make people feel guilty if they do not experience positive emotions in sufficient numbers." On the other hand, the study underlines how important life circumstances for long life. You must make sure that the elderly have enough money and social support, as well as all right to access to medicine.

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