How Being Happy Helps You Live Longer

Being happy can only positively affect your health and there are many studies to confirm the relation between happiness and health. Although their relation is reciprocal and interactive; the one equally affecting the other, a new study confirms how happiness directly impacts one’s longevity. So get happy, you’ll live longer. Or so they say.

Scientists from the University of London have discovered that subjectively happy people in fact reduce their chances of premature death as much as 35%. One immediate implication, the study also puts forward is that improving the emotional well-being of older adults should become a priority as it has been proven to have beneficial health implications.

Improvement of Biological Processes Thanks to Positive Emotions

Another study looking at how positive emotions promote health and particular biological processes, has confirmed “that positive affect has an effect on biology, and that it is correlated with health-protective biological responses.”

The study published in the Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews journal, published in 2010, tested a hypothesis of how happiness directly affects biological processes. The researchers found that “positive affect activates the neuroendocrine, autonomic and immune systems in distinct and functionally meaningful ways.”

Depression, Chronical Problems and the Role of Positive Emotions

Researchers have also discovered that depression and other chronic medical problems which might increase one’s risk for suicide can be effectively diminished when counteracted with happiness interludes.

This study assessed a sample of 1.801 subjects over 60 years old on three parameters, suicidal distress, chronic medical conditions and the presence of positive affect. The study, published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, confirmed a

“[d]ecreased risk for distressing thoughts of suicide in the context of medical illness” brought about by positive emotions.

In a study about subjective well-being (SWB) in twins, scientists found that “SWB is associated with increased longevity independent of familial factors of genes and shared environment”. What this implies is that your own opinion of your well-being is crucial in longevity terms. In fact, SWB might be much more important and less affected by factors such as living context.

Lifestyle and Longevity

One factor that can immensely help you be happier or at  least less concerned over day to day issues is having some assistance either as part of an assisted living context, or as part of an at-home-care solution. Today the options available are not inflexible, Preferred Living solutions has as its priority tailorability of services. We believe that each individual is unique and as such deserves a custom-made solution taking into accounts their needs and wants, their situation and abilities. Offering ready-made solutions is to ignore the fundamental attribute that makes us human, empathy. Empathy for the other person’s concerns and needs.

Small Steps for a Happier You

Happiness is not a goal is a by-product, Eleanor Roosevelt has said. Encircle your life with activities, people and thought that are happiness-promoting. Choose to be grateful rather than grumpy. Choose to laugh off rather than obsessively worry about yet another thing in your life to have changed.

We don’t wake up one day and decide to be happy, we work on it by taking baby steps towards that direction. This way we can live longer and much happier.