Ever hear someone say something like – “smile…..you’ll live longer.” Well, a new study at the University of Oxford claims that’s just not true. Researchers say whether you smile or frown, it has no bearing on your health.
“Good news for the grumpy” is one way to interpret the findings, said Sir Richard Peto, an author of the study and a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford.
He and his fellow researchers decided to look into the subject because, he said, there is a widespread belief that stress and unhappiness cause disease.
After following more than 700,000 women for nearly 10 years, researchers determined that people aren’t unhealthy because they’re unhappy…..they’re unhappy because they’re unhealthy.
“Our results show that being happier doesn’t make you live longer,” says (researcher Bette) Liu. “Being happier in itself doesn’t make you live longer. It’s the poor health of those individuals who are unhappy that actually explains why they might have higher death rates.”
While the report challenges the long-held belief that unhappiness itself affects health directly, researchers admit it can do harm in other ways, by driving people to suicide, alcoholism, or other dangerous behaviors. The report also acknowledges that more work is needed to determine if unhappiness in childhood may still have a lasting impact on health.