An important four-year longitudinal study done by a group of scientists from England, and reported in the esteemed BMJ, found that subjective (perceived) wellbeing and enjoyment has the positive effect of extending our life on an average of 7.3 years. Mortality was inversely associated with the number of occasions on which participants reported high enjoyment of life. Interestingly, the study showed a reduced risk of all causes of mortality (i.e., baseline illness, depression, smoking, physical activity, etc.) and the incidence of specific conditions such as coronary heart disease.
Previously, other studies have assessed subjective wellbeing on one occasion (i.e., a single period of wellbeing). But this study looked at a longer exposure. The more the exposure to an experience of wellbeing the better one’s chances are for a longer life.
The following is quoted directly for the article:
What is already known on this topic
What this study adds
Hopefully the “so what” is obvious to us. If we are grumpy, anxious, and depressed people we will likely die sooner than later. If we enjoy life and experience wellbeing, even when the health foibles of life come our way, we will live longer…and better. Positive change IS under our control.
BMJ 2016; 355 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6267 (Published 13 December 2016)
Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6267
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