Happiness Leads to Longer Life, Say 160 Studies

Chronic anger, anxiety leads to higher disease rates
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2011 5:40 PM CST
Being an optimistic person leads to a longer lifespan, studies have shown.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Being happy—or at least optimistic—makes you live longer, found scientists analyzing the combined results of more than 160 studies. "Happiness is no magic bullet," one scientist said, but there's "clear and compelling evidence" linking positivity and longevity. Some studies, for example, linked an upbeat, "glass-half-full" attitude to a reduction in stress hormones and a boost in immune system function—both of which should lead to a longer life, the Telegraph reports.

Others found the opposite kind of links: anxiety, depression, pessimism and chronic anger were all linked to higher rates of disease and shorter lifespans. “I was almost shocked, and certainly surprised, to see the consistency of the data,” said the lead researcher, a University of Illinois professor. “The general conclusion from each type of study is that your subjective wellbeing, that is, feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed, contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations."

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