Happiness doesn't necessarily mean good health, which is "good news for the grumpy," the author of a new study exploring the topic said.
Sir Richard Peto, study author and a professor at England's University of Oxford, told The New York Times
that a 10-year research project following 1 million British women didn't support the idea that happiness correlates with good health and living longer.
"Many still believe that stress or unhappiness can directly cause disease, but they are simply confusing cause and effect. Of course people who are ill tend to be unhappier than those who are well, but the U.K. Million Women Study shows that happiness and unhappiness do not themselves have any direct effect on death rates," Peto said in an Oxford press release.
The U.K. Million Women Study
, which was published Wednesday in The Lancet journal
, was a collaborative project to examine women's health. Of the survey responses, the Oxford happiness study looked closely at 700,000 women with an average age of 59 years. During the 10-year study span, 30,000 of the women died.
From survey responses and health consequences, and after allowing for differences that were already present in health and lifestyle, the death rate for happy and unhappy women was the same, the release said.
"Illness makes you unhappy, but unhappiness doesn't make you ill. We found no direct effect of unhappiness or stress on mortality, even in a 10-year study of a million women," said lead study author Dr. Betty Liu, currently at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The finding that their general grumpiness wouldn't affect the length of their lives pleased many people online:
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