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Wednesday, 22 January 2014 11:05

Happier People Age Better, Live Longer

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(HealthDay News) --- Happier seniors can look forward to greater mobility as they age than their gloomier peers, new research suggests.

The researchers, who study happiness and how it relates to life, wanted to understand the physical effects of happiness.

"We have previously shown that positive well-being and enjoyment of life are predictors of longer life," Steptoe said. "Older people who report greater enjoyment are less likely to die over the next five to eight years than those with lower enjoyment of life."

The findings don't prove that happiness preserves mobility. However, "the research suggests that enjoyment of life contributes to healthier and more active old age," said study author Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London. And it's not just because healthier people are happier and more energetic, he said.

This latest research "suggests that among other things, we should think about the positive aspects of life and experience of older people," Steptoe said. "Not only are these important issues in themselves, they might have benefits in terms of physical function. These could in turn help us contain the spiraling costs of social and health care among older sectors of society."

James Maddux, a professor emeritus of psychology with the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., said the findings are convincing and reflect other research.

"Healthy people are usually happier, and happy people are usually healthier," he said.

However, he said, it's important to be cautious about the conclusions. "All we can conclude is some kind of relation between physical health and happiness and life satisfaction," Maddux noted. "The findings do not tell us whether a great sense of well-being results in improved health or whether improved health results in a greater sense of well-being."

Read 3216 times Last modified on Friday, 07 March 2014 11:30

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