Get More Great Stuff!

Join over 100,000 subscribers! Get a free weekly update with exclusive content.
No spam, ever. Enter your email here:

Do happy people live longer?

Seven types of evidence are reviewed that indicate that high subjective well-being (such as life satisfaction, absence of negative emotions, optimism, and positive emotions) causes better health and longevity. For example, prospective longitudinal studies of normal populations provide evidence that various types of subjective well-being such as positive affect predict health and longevity, controlling for health and socioeconomic status at baseline. Combined with experimental human and animal research, as well as naturalistic studies of changes of subjective well-being and physiological processes over time, the case that subjective well-being influences health and longevity in healthy populations is compelling. However, the claim that subjective well-being lengthens the lives of those with certain diseases such as cancer remains controversial. Positive feelings predict longevity and health beyond negative feelings. However, intensely aroused or manic positive affect may be detrimental to health. Issues such as causality, effect size, types of subjective well-being, and statistical controls are discussed.

Source: “Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity” from Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, Volume 3, Issue 1, pages 1–43, March 2011

Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

At what annual salary does money stop making us happier?

How to make yourself happier in just a few seconds

Do happy people love their jobs or do good jobs make people happy?

About Eric Barker