It has been a known concept that maintaining happiness in life has beneficial qualities to a person, like lengthening his or her lifespan. However, new reports suggest that this concept may just be a myth.
The New York Times reports that a recent study, published in The Lancet, has found that associating happiness with improvement in health and longevity is unfounded. According to the NY Times, the study followed one million middle-aged women in Britain over the period of ten years.
The New York Times quotes the researchers’ conclusion as follows:
“Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality.”
The website further discusses elements of the research study. According to NY Times, the results were based on answers of women aged 50 to 69 who were recruited from 1996 to 2001. The research was interested in knowing happiness in relation to the respondents’ daily lives as well as the way they rated their health and what ailments they had.
Forbes further provides a background of the research.
According to the website, University of Oxford Professor Sir Richard Peto–the lead researcher–found that being unhappy was not linked to mortality over the long term. From this information, the findings of the study suggest that both happy and unhappy people had equal standing in terms of risk in certain diseases and even death.
Forbes further emphasizes the point of the researchers in terms of the concepts of health and happiness being reversed by human thought. The website relays that having a poor health is the thing that causes stress, unhappiness, and the feeling of not being in control.
Forbes does not dismiss the fact that studies dealing with the link between unhappiness and health outcomes have been done before. However, the website also highlights that the concept of happiness is a hard area to study because it is not a concrete object that can easily be observed in a laboratory.
Whatever the results of studies may say, the important thing is for people not to let emotions get the better of them.