Good news for bad moods: happiness does not make us live longer
What does having a good life mean? If the time to answer this question included happiness in your list, you think like millions. In fact, the pursuit and enjoyment of happiness is a common goal and desire in life for most people believing that happiness is a key factor to have a good quality of life. And because both happiness and health are crucial aspects of quality of life, it is considered that happiness is associated with better health and greater longevity.
It seems that happiness does not make us live longer or, but another way, unhappiness does not kill us before. A study of nearly one million women in the UK and published in the journal “The Lancet” showing happiness itself has no direct effect on mortality, and widespread belief, but erroneous, that the unhappiness and stress are directly responsible for poor health comes from studies that reached a conclusion cause confusingly affection.
Illness makes you unhappy, but the unhappiness itself does not hurt. The researchers have not found a direct effect of unhappiness or stress on mortality, even after analyzing nearly 1 million women for 10 years. Or as slyly recognizes a researcher Sir Richard Peto, University of Oxford: “Good news for the bad mood”.
British researchers decided to examine the role of stress and unhappiness on mortality due to the “conventional wisdom” which suggests that are associated with an increased susceptibility to death. But believing things that are not true is not a good idea.
The authors acknowledge that it is true that a bad health that threatens our life can cause unhappiness; however, they argue, be unhappy one does not mean premature death.
The study analyzed data from 719,671 women participating in the study. All of them were tested three years after joining the study, a questionnaire asking about their health, happiness, stress, and if they felt relaxed. Five out of six said they were generally happy, but one in six recognized that it was unhappy.
As in other studies, the researchers found that unhappiness is associated with poverty, smoking, lack of exercise and live in solitude. However, the strongest associations were observed in women who already had poor health, who were more likely to say they were unhappy. At 10 years into the study 30,000 women had died.
To determine whether those less fortunate have a higher risk of premature death the researchers took into account all factors related to the lifestyle of the participants and thus proved to be happy, or unhappy, posed no greater or lesser risk of death, respectively. The researchers believe that the size of the sample, nearly 1 million women, ruled that unhappiness can be a direct cause of any substantial increase in overall mortality in women. And the data were transferable to mortality from cancer and heart disease. Both were in relation to stress and unhappiness.
In a related commentary, Dr. Philippe de Souto Barreto and Professor Yves Rolland, the Institute on Aging at the University Hospital of Toulouse (France) said the study provides valuable and sound information about happiness, health and mortality. Now, Souto Barreto and randomized trials Rolland demand for more research on theme: “Studies should allow comparisons across age ranges, both men and women.”