Science seems to be knocking on the door of socially accepted wisdom. You see, the secret to a long life has been researched and concluded to be reliant on…enjoying life! Sounds like something a corny aunt or uncle would say, no?
University College London researchers polled 10,000 English people. In one study, researchers gauged the happiness level of 3,853 people within the age group of 52 to 79 years of age. They monitored the participants’ emotions and feelings several times a day. Then, five years later, they revisited this same group of participants to see how many had passed away.
Gauging participants’ happiness levels several times each day was a “better” method than simply asking participants how happy they were: often, participants were apt to being more honest throughout the day, instead of just answering once, as they answered on what they believed they should be feeling.
Researchers analyzed the participants’ feelings, states of mind, and physical health and were able to conclude that mental health and attitude plays a large factor in a people’s overall, physical health. Even those with chronic diseases who approached life optimistically seemed to do better than one would expect.
Participants with the “greatest” enjoyment of life seemed to add, on average, a decade to their life spans. And those with the “greatest” enjoyment of life weren’t simply the most adventuresome or wealthiest. They were actually the least socially isolated. They had surrounded themselves with family and friends and had strong social networks. The relationships and bonds they made over the years helped with a happier disposition and less stress, which in turn affected their mental health. And, simultaneously, good mental health and affected their physical health. So, what can be concluded from this study? A good laugh and friends are all it takes to really have a healthy life! So how about you call your best friend for a lunch date?