It's official. The research is in. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have interesting findings to report about living longer. Their study, reported in the journal, Aging, discovered that being happy and having a positive outlook is associated with longevity. For too long, we've been advised to eat less as one of the few proven ways to increase your longevity. What fun is that? When it comes to tips on healthy living, "Be happy" is a whole lot more attactive as an option.
The researchers studied 243 people, including many centenarians (the average age of participants in the study was 97.6). Looking at personality traits, scientists discovered that these long-lived people shared a trio of upbeat traits. "Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network," said Nir Barzilai, M.D., director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research, in a statement about the research. Furthermore, the centenarians freely expressed their feelings.
Other research supports these findings. In another study, people between 52 and 79 had 35% less risk of dying within five years if they were happy, compared to unhappy people.
Scientists are still sorting out the genetic underpinnings of various personality traits, but the lesson for us is clear: Don't worry. Be happy.
Sounds good to me.