Smile your way to better health

Smile your way to better health

A new study finds happy humans—and pets—tend to live longer.
source-image
Mar 08, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

If you want to live longer—and help your veterinary patients do the same—smile. That’s the suggestion of a new study that reviews more than 160 studies on human and animal subjects and their happiness. Researchers found evidence that happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers. The study, published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, is the most comprehensive review so far of the evidence linking happiness to health outcomes.

Researchers analyzed long-term studies of human subjects, experimental trials, and studies that evaluate the health status of people stressed by natural events. The general conclusion is that your subjective well-being contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations. In most of the long-term studies, the researchers found that anxiety, depression, lack of enjoyment of daily activities, and pessimism are all associated with higher rates of disease and a shorter lifespan.

In addition, animal studies also demonstrate a strong link between stress and poor health. Experiments in which animals receive the same care but differ in their stress levels—as a result of an abundance of nest mates in their cages, for example—have found that stressed animals are more susceptible to heart disease, have weaker immune systems, and tend to die younger than those living in less crowded conditions.

Researchers conducting laboratory experiments on humans have found that positive moods reduce stress-related hormones, increase immune function, and promote the speedy recovery of the heart after exertion. In other studies, marital conflicts and high hostility in married couples were associated with slow wound healing and a poorer immune response.

Happiness alone might not prevent or cure disease. However, evidence that positive emotions and enjoyment of life contribute to better health and a longer lifespan is stronger than the data linking obesity to reduced longevity, researchers say. So go on, get happy.

Proceedings papers for techs

The very best behavior advice for new puppy owners (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

The entire hospital staff should play a role in the counseling of new puppy owners.

The technician's role creating a behavior centered veterinary practice (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A focus on pet behavior in the veterinary clinic is an excellent practice builder.

Trying times--dealing with canine adolescent dog (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

A behavior wellness exam is an opportunity to check up on a pet’s behavioral health and answer any related questions a client may have.

Enriching geriatric patients' lives (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

An important time for practices to include a behavioral exam is when a pet becomes a senior.

Tubes and tracheas--all about endotracheal tubes and lesions in difficult intubations (Proceedings)

CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS

Endotracheal tubes are usually made from silicone, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic or red rubber.