Does Our Longevity depend on Happiness?

Contrary to the notion, which says our life expectancy depends on happiness; being unhappy makes one to have shorter life span, or that being filled with happiness guaranty a longer life. A new study suggests that happiness does not contribute to your longevity.

Prior to the study, unhappiness has been frequently linked to a shorter life. But, this myth has been rebuffed by The UK Million Women Study conducted by Dr Bette Liu, and published in the The Lancet.

“Illness makes you unhappy, but unhappiness itself doesn’t make you ill,” said Bette who led the study. We found no direct effect of unhappiness or stress on mortality, even in a ten-year study of a million women.”

The researchers asked women recruited between 1996 and 2001 to self-rate their health, happiness, stress, feelings of control, and whether they felt relaxed. It was gathered that, 39% of the 719 671 women in the main analyses said they were generally happy most of the time, 44% reported they were usually happy while the rest claimed they were generally unhappy.

Reports also say those that claimed to be unhappy were found amidst those who did little exercise, were deprived, single, and smoker.

According to researchers’ interpretation, happiness and related measures of wellbeing do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality i.e. happiness was not linked to whether they died over the next 10 years.

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“Many still believe that stress or unhappiness can directly cause disease, but they are simply confusing cause and effect, says Professor Sir Richard Peto, one of the study’s authors. Of course people who are ill tend to be unhappier than those who are well, but the UK Million Women Study shows that happiness and unhappiness do not themselves have any direct effect on death rates.”

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