Do you relish waking up and tackling new challenges every day? Revel in the little moments? Understand that life as all about the journey, not the destination? Then I’ve got great news for you. According to a study published in the scientific journal Social Science and Medicine, overall happiness is positively correlated with longevity. Basically, the happier a person you are, the better chance there is that you will live a long life.
Here’s what the abstract of the study had to say:
This is the first study to our knowledge to examine the relationship between happiness and longevity among a nationally representative sample of adults. We use the recently-released General Social Survey-National Death Index dataset and Cox proportional hazards models to reveal that overall happiness is related to longer lives among U.S. adults. Indeed, compared to very happy people, the risk of death over the follow-up period is 6% (95% CI 1.01–1.11) higher among individuals who are pretty happy and 14% (95% CI 1.06–1.22) higher among those who are not happy, net of marital status, socioeconomic status, census division, and religious attendance. This study provides support for happiness as a stand-alone indicator of well-being that should be used more widely in social science and health research.
I doubt we’ll be seeing U.S. public policy made based on a happiness index any time soon, but it sure is an interesting data point. In fact, another study published in the same journal found, unsurprisingly, that the angrier you are, the less likely you are to live a long time.
Luckily, faking a smile can actually make you happy, so get smiling!