Happiness extends life

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Study: Happiness extends life

Happy people have a longer life expectancy. This was the finding of US researchers at the University of Illinois when evaluating over 160 studies on happiness and health. The results confirm the approaches of naturopathy.

"The overwhelming majority" of the studies evaluated "shows that happiness is associated with health and a longer life," emphasized Ed Diener and his research colleagues from the University of Illinois in the context of the publication of their study results in the current issue of the journal "Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being ”. Life expectancy is significantly influenced by personal happiness.

Positive emotions and joie de vivre increase life expectancy According to the scientists, a huge range of factors were taken into account in the meta-analysis of the more than 160 studies. For example, one study compared the life expectancy of nuns with the feelings that they expressed as young novices in their diary entries. Others had shown in laboratory experiments that happy people on the one hand produce less stress hormones and on the other hand have a better immune system, the US scientists report. The life-prolonging effect is so great that it can even offset negative factors such as being overweight, explained Ed Diener and colleagues. Another of the studies evaluated accompanied more than 5,000 students over a period of 40 years after they had given information about their stress levels and their satisfaction. Despite the extremely different research approaches, almost all studies in the context of meta-analysis clearly pointed in the same direction, report Ed Diener and colleagues. Positive emotions, feelings of happiness and joie de vivre strengthen health and increase life expectancy, according to the US researchers.

Stress weakens the immune system The University of Illinois scientists have made an impressive contribution to elucidating the effects of happiness on health and life expectancy with their meta-study on over 160 existing primary studies. They were able to confirm an approach that has long been discussed in the professional world. Positive emotions and zest for life are good for health and extend the lifespan. However, stress should be avoided if possible. Animal studies have shown that stress is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, a weaker immune system and shorter life expectancy, Ed Diener explained.

The results of the US researchers also support the approach of naturopathy that physical and mental well-being interact and that fact must also be taken into account in medical treatment. Thus, in naturopathy in the context of Antonovsky's salutogenesis, the meaningfulness in a person's life is named as an important factor for health. Like the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, salutogenesis emphasizes that meaningful activities such as hobbies can help individuals to better compensate for negative working conditions and stress, with correspondingly positive effects on health. Previously, normal weight, healthy eating, no smoking and sufficient exercise were the four classic pillars of health, but according to the results of the meta study, happiness should also be considered as a decisive factor, said Ed Diener. (fp)

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Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

Author and source information

Video: How to Be Happy Every Day: It Will Change the World. Jacqueline Way. TEDxStanleyPark


  1. Ashburn

    Your answer is incomparable ... :)

  2. Mikale

    Very deep and positive article, thank you. Now I will look at your blog more often.

  3. Samura

    Can you fill the gap?

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