Happiness may lead to longevity

In a review of more than 160 studies on mood and health, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois found that the vast majority of the trials led to the conclusion that happiness leads to a longer life and reduced risk of disease.

Positivity, a lack of stress and good mental health were all factors that contributed to a longer lifespan and optimal physical health among human and animal participants.

“Current health recommendations focus on four things: avoid obesity, eat right, don’t smoke, and exercise. It may be time to add ‘be happy and avoid chronic anger and depression’ to the list,” said Ed Diener, lead study author.

One study took into account the autobiographies of nuns written in their 20s, and found that those with positive moods toward their life lived longer than those who viewed their experiences as negative. Additionally, it was found that in married couples who fight, the partners had weaker immune systems and took longer to heal from physical wounds.

Results of the study suggest that employee wellness programs that include the tools and resources for stress relief and anger management may be effective in keeping a workforce healthy and happy. Employee performance may also be strengthened through these efforts.

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