Being happy in life can help you live longer.
It makes enjoying life even more worthwhile knowing that it enables you to add a few more years to your life. Both men and women were found to increase their longevity by having a positive outlook on life.
The studies reveal that women in their 50s can expect to live another 37 years. Those women that are often depressed and negative in their outlook often lived only another 31 years. Men in their 50s also benefited from having a more cheerful perspective by another 33 years, but those with a more joyless outlook only lived around 27 years longer.
Having a happier perspective on life, in general, means less stress. When someone is anxious much of the time, cortisol and other hormones produce negative effects on the body, which, if prolonged for long periods, will shorten your life.
High cortisol levels change the way your body functions because it prepares the body for emergencies – the fight-or-flight reaction. It reduces the function of some of your organs and bodily processes and increases that of others.
When it remains high over long durations, you may have high blood pressure, extreme fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, and more. In some cases, it could lead to the Cushing syndrome – which has its own share of additional health problems.
A few other factors that may be included in being happy are how people felt about their life situation. Having a degree of security added to the feeling of well-being, and this was often affected by whether or not people felt that they had sufficient money, access to good health care, and friends or a social network.
A study conducted by Harvard over 80 years revealed that feeling good about life was likely the strongest factor in living longer. The one thing that made people feel the best about themselves, the study concluded, was their relationships.
Strong relationships enable people to feel good about themselves. It was found that this feeling reduced the likelihood of developing both mental and physical health problems. The study concluded that those who felt they had good and strong relationships in their 50s were also those that were the healthiest when they reached their 80s.
A noted significant aspect of aging and being happier was that it reduced pain levels. Emotional pain and physical pain, the study noted, were both affected by happiness levels. Those with a strong healthy relationship were less influenced by pain than those with a poorer relationship.
Being resilient but flexible in times of opposition or problems also helps. Life consists of much more than being on a mountaintop high all the time. If you are someone that is always looking for life to be easy, fair, and good, you are not likely to be very happy. Life is full of bumps in the road and they occur in everyone’s life.
Happiness is always elusive when it is the goal. Instead, it is a by-product of other things. Being able to help others in need can be a strong source of well-being and happiness, and it will impact other lives. After all, longevity is worth having when you can make others happy, too.