Yet another study suggests that happiness is good for your health.
Epidemiologists at University College, London, reported their results Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.
Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle examined data collected in a single day by the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, a large survey in England. A subset of 3,853 people, ages 52 to 79, were asked to record the extent to which they felt happy, excited, content, worried, anxious and fearful on a 1 to 4 scale at four times during the day: upon waking, 30 minutes after waking, at 7 p.m. and again upon going to bed.
Their measurements of happiness, excitement and contentment combined to create a score for positive affect, or good mood. Worry, anxiety and fear ratings were combined to measure negative affect, or bad mood.
Once the researchers had their positive and negative affect scores, they divided the study subjects into three groups based on their positive affect ratings -- high, medium and low -- and followed up with the members of each group five years later to see who had died.