People Who Are Happy Tend To Live Longer

Happy Couple

We know that being in good physical health is important to longevity, but new research suggests that having good mental health may also help you live longer. A new study reviewed 18 years of data collected in the Canadian Population Health Survey on more than 12-thousand subjects and finds those with “flourishing” mental health lived longer than folks who were less mentally healthy.

Researchers from the University of Toronto got specific, determining that study subjects with lower than average mental health scores lived an average of 4.7 months less than those with higher mental health scores. The criteria they looked at to determine mental health includes happiness, life satisfaction, and good psychological functioning.

And even when researchers adjusted for conditions that are typically linked to a shorter life, including chronic health issues like diabetes, cancer and smoking, people with poor mental health were still 14% more likely to die from any cause during the 18-year study than those with better mental health. The study’s authors aren’t exactly sure why better mental health increases longevity, but they think it’s a combination of things, including that mentally healthy folks are more likely to eat healthy food, sleep better, maintain strong relationships and complete treatment for health conditions.