How to live longer: The key emotion to feel in order to boost life expectancy
The unpredictable nature of the world means nobody can know for certain if they’re going to live tomorrow. Accidents can – and do – happen. But there’s no point fretting about things you can’t control. Take charge of what you can, starting with your health.
Consistently making good, healthy choices will likely serve you well throughout life.
No matter how far you’ve trodden down the wrong path with bad habits and poor choices, you have the power to make a positive change today.
American researchers, from the University of Texas and the University of Illinois, investigated one crucial factor in boosting longevity.
They identified a key emotion that could help people live a longer and more fulfilling life.
What did they discover? Conducting a literature review on the subject of longevity, they found that happiness contributes to a longer life.
Their findings were published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.
Subjective happiness was partially defined by how participants regarded their life satisfaction.
In addition to life satisfaction, the absence of negative emotions was recorded, as well as their levels of optimism and positive emotions.
Adding to this notion that happiness can boost longevity is Wardle and Steptoe – researchers from University College London.
Specialising in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, they analysed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging – a cohort of older men and women living in England.
Aggregating data from one day, they pooled together assessments made on 3,853 individuals.
Participants selected are between the ages of 52 to 79 years old; they were followed up for an average of five years.
The data revealed that those who had experienced the lowest positive affect (i.e. positive emotions, such as happiness) had a death rate of 7.3 percent.
Contrast this with the volunteers who experienced the highest positive emotions.
Those who showed more positive emotions had a 3.7 percent reduction in death rate in the five-year follow-up.
It’s clear to see from the evidence highlighted above that feeling more positive emotions can boost longevity.
Moreover, additional research from Steptoe and a different collaborator from University College London – Chida – explored this link further.
They conducted a meta analysis to review the association between positive well-being and mortality (i.e. death).
The data consisted of 35 studies that investigated mortality in healthy populations, and 35 studies of diseased populations.
Regardless of someone’s good or ill health, positive psychological well-being was associated with reduced mortality.
Specifically, “positive affect” was ascertained by “emotional well-being; positive moods; joy; happiness; vigor; and energy”.
The data revealed that happy people can live up to 18 percent longer than those who weren’t experiencing positive emotions.
Comment below on what adds more joy into your life – it’s a great way to share positive ideas.
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