Happy people are healthier

15 11 2006

As if we needed to be told that, at least now there seems to be scientific proof. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine has shown that happiness and other positive emotions play an even more important role in health than previously thought.

It seems that people who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus than those who report few of these emotions. In that study, the researchers found that when they do come down with a cold, happy people report fewer symptoms than would be expected from objective measures of their illness. In contrast, reporting more negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger was not associated with catching colds. That study, however, left open the possibility that the greater resistance to infectious illness among happier people may not have been due to happiness, but rather to other characteristics that are often associated with reporting positive emotions such as optimism, extraversion, feelings of purpose in life and self-esteem.

You can read the abstract of the study here, there’s also free access to the whole article (no subscription needed).

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