I was recently reading through an issue of Science magazine (yes, I do that occasionally) and came across an article about a published study from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found that happy people really do live longer!
The study found that of 924 people who reported “least positive feelings” (starting in 2002), 7.3% died within five years. For the 1,399 people who reported the “most positive feelings,” only 3.6% died within five years. The researchers took into account age, gender, signs of depression, current health, and behaviors such as smoking; and even with those adjustments, they reported that the risk of dying in the next five years was still 35% lower for the happiest people.
I also noticed in the February 2012 issue of Mayo Clinic’s LiveWell newsletter that a published study in the journal Health Psychology followed 820 office workers over 20 years. During that time, 53 participants died. Analyzing those deaths, the researchers found that the risk of dying was significantly lower for those who reported higher levels of work friendships and socialness.
Grow your relationships, be more social at work—and above all—don’t worry, be happy. Your smiling face brightens someone else’s day, and it could also add five years to your life!