I imagine that a fair few of our clients would have been celebrating over the past few days. First there was the closest run Melbourne Cup ever, and almost immediately after the Reserve Bank decided to cut interest rates. The ‘big four’ banks bar one (NAB) have passed on the full .25 basis point reduction, but given the huge profit margins recently posted it’s the least they could do.
So generally there were probably a few happy people out there – which is probably just as well, as a new study of people recently published by the University College of London found that those who rated their happiness the highest were significantly less likely to die in the following five years than those who were least content.
The study, reported by The Telegraph newspaper in London involved 3,800 people aged 52-79. Even after considering the effect of age, disease and lifestyle factors, the study found that the happiest group had a 35 per cent lower risk of death than the least happy. ‘Not groundbreaking stuff ‘ you might say after all everybody knows that being happy = longer life. However the results do reinforce the findings of previous research which links wellbeing and a positive outlook to longer life.
Prof Andrew Steptoe, who led the study, said: “The happiness could be a marker of some other aspect of people’s lives which is particularly important for health.”
He added, “For example, happiness is quite strongly linked to good social relationships, and maybe it is things like that that are accounting for the link between happiness and health.”
While other studies generally ask participants to rate their happiness over the period of a day, week or month, this study considered particpant’s mood and outlook at four points throughout the day They were then asked to assess their levels of worry, anxiety and fear.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the researchers reported that five years on from their assessment, just 3.6 per cent of the happiest participants – those who had the highest positive affect – had died.
In contrast, some 4.6 per cent of those who were averagely happy and 7.3 per cent of the group with the lowest positive affect had died during the same time frame.
After accounting for factors including depression, physical health and wealth, the researchers found that the happiest people were more than a third less likely to die.
The Telegraph, London