LivingIf you are happy, you will live longer

If you are happy, you will live longer

felicidad-vidaA review of more than 160 scientific studies addressing the connection between a positive state of mind and longevity has found “clear and convincing evidence” thathappier people tend to have better health and live longer.

The evidence linking a positive outlook on life with longevity was even stronger than that linking obesity with a decrease in life expectancy, according to an article published in the journalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. “It was almost shocking, and we were certainly surprised, to see the consistency of the data,” said Ed Diener, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, who led the study.

The review focused on eight different types of long-term research, as well as experimental tests, both in human and animal populations. For example, 5,000 college students observed for more than 40 years provided evidence thatthe most pessimistic tended to die younger. And in the laboratory,optimism-linked behaviors reduced stress-related hormones, increased immune function and helped the heart recover after overexertion. In addition, animals that lived in stress, such as cages full of animals, had weaker immune systems and died younger than those that were not crowded.

Diener pointed out that although current health policies focus on combating obesity, smoking, poor eating habits and lack of exercise, “it may be time to add the ‘be happy’ andavoid chronic anger and depression“.

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