A New Study Found That Happy People Live Longer

Here's a good reason to keep your spirits up!

Meghan Overdeep
Women smiling
Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images

The fountain of youth comes with a side of good times, it seems. A British study published in the scientific journal BMJ found that older folks who enjoy life are more likely to live longer. Now if that isn’t a good reason to get on the next flight to Disney World, we don’t know what is!

Questioned three times over five years, the subjects (9,365 men and women aged over the age of 50) who consistently said they enjoy life were 24% less likely to die by the follow-up period compared with those who reported little joy in their lives.

“People who reported enjoying their lives at all three occasions had the lowest mortality over the next six to seven years, while those who said they did not enjoy their lives at any time were the most likely to die,” the study’s lead author Andrew Steptoe says.

While the study didn’t take into account factors like illness, the findings clearly indicate that a positive outlook is relevant to your future health. “Even some enjoyment of life is better than none,” Septoe added.

The study also found that women were more likely than men to report being happy, as were participants who were married or cohabiting with someone.

Dr. Dilip Jeste, the director of University of California, San Diego’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging, told CBS that enjoying life can reduce stress, which in turn may prolong life.

“Happy people are likely to take better care of themselves, exercise regularly, avoid unhealthy foods, take their medications regularly and, as a result, they will have better health outcomes,” said Jeste.