Happy? You May Live 35% Longer, Tracking Study Suggests
November 1, 2011 by staff
The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that those who reported feeling happier had a 35% lower risk of dying compared with those who felt less happy.
Instead of relying on the memories of their feelings of happiness, as in previous studies, this British study participants aged 52-79 3853 rated their feelings at different times of a particular day. Five years later, the researchers recorded the number of dead and controlled by a variety of factors, including age, sex, health, wealth, education and marital status.
This “is closer to the measurement of how people really feel” instead of relying on memory or general questions on welfare, says epidemiologist Andrew Steptoe, professor of psychology at University College London, author of the study .
How happy a person at any time, he says, is a product of “any provision of background, some people tend to be happier than others,” but “what they are doing, who they are, and other characteristics of that point in time. Both are important. ”
“It is perfectly true that the happiness of a person in one day will be affected by what happens during that period,” said Steptoe. “However, survey experts and psychologists have concluded that in many ways, this is a better approach to understanding how people feel that they would ask general questions about how happy they are. Answers to questions general are strongly influenced by the personality, so people think you “should” say and memories that could not be very accurate, “said Steptoe.
What is not clear, he says, is whether the happy feelings are the key to longevity, or if it is another thing that makes life longer. “We can not draw the final conclusion kind of happiness that leads directly to better survival,” he says.
Others who have done research in this field but have not read the study say that this link between a measure of one days and mortality is important.
“The fact that positive emotions in one day predicted survival is pretty amazing,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside.
“We know that happiness is associated with an extended shelf life,” he says. If we can get people to be happier, that would extend life? Do not know yet. Future research may try to show definitely that. ”
Arthur Stone, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Stony Brook University in New York, which has used the measurements over one day in his research, said that researchers “have a relationship with mortality means that the relationship should be fairly robust, as there were only 3,800 people and only measuring the first day. ”
What if some of that measured in one day just had a bad day?
“A” bad day “should weaken the relationship,” says Stone. “What we’re saying is that there are enough people here that people who have odd days does not really matter much. Some people had bad days and some had good morning. If they had been able to measure several days with these techniques, one would that the relationship would be stronger. ”
Laura Kubzansky, an associate professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, says there is a “growing body of work suggesting positive psychological functioning health benefits,” and this study is important because it “adds to the arsenal.”
“You could tell people, you should take seriously their mood,” Kubzansky said. “I think people sort of emotional life anyway underestimating This underscores the idea that if you are going through a period that is constantly in trouble, it’s probably worth paying attention to how you feel -. It is important for psychological and physical health. ”
This study asked participants to rate how happy, excited and content they felt least four points in a single day – 7 am, 7 pm and a half hour after each one. We used a rating scale from 1 (“none”) to 4 (“extremely”).
“Usually, they were less happy when he woke up and happy most at 7 pm,” says Steptoe.
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