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A sense of satisfaction means a longer life

Created date

July 20th, 2015
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How you feel about your life, whether it is contented or not, tends to stay constant over time. It can change, however, depending on how you cope with negative life events such as chronic illness or the death of a spouse. Some people bounce back and some don’t. 

Now, scientists from Chapman University in Orange, Calif., think how you view life may be more important than previously thought. 

The researchers followed 4,500 people over a period of nine years. Every year, participants were asked to rate their life satisfaction on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being less life satisfaction and ten being the greatest. As expected, responses varied when life’s circumstances went well or took a downturn.

Results showed that people who had relatively stable life satisfaction and adapted quickly to change were more likely to live longer than people who rated lower on the scale. The risk of mortality remained about the same regardless of the number of life events. Individuals with high levels of life satisfaction tended to have reduced risk of mortality regardless of how their life satisfaction varied over time.

Although other studies have linked happiness to better health, the researchers say that this study is the first to consider effects of life satisfaction over such an extended period of time. The findings from this study have implications for emotional health identification and treatment. More research in this area may lead to earlier or better interventions to help people live happier and thus longer.