Happiness Supposedly Won't Help You Live Longer, but Here's What Will

happy woman outsideYou know how people are always saying that you should relax and be happy because doing so has SO many benefits? Well, according to brand-spankin'-new research, living longer isn't one of them.

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Feel free to do a double-take now. We'll wait.

According to a new study published in the Lancet, it's not happiness but rather HEALTH that makes people live longer. Scientists at the University of New South Wales figured this out by collecting data for three years from about 720,000 middle-aged women. 

The women were asked all kinds of questions about their health, education, whether they smoked, how happy they were ... and when the results were analyzed, researchers came to the conclusion that happiness in itself does not make you live longer.

Our first response to this, of course, is NOT one of happiness. Let's call it "annoyed." How can anyone believe physical and emotional health exist in two separate vacuums? Plenty of research pinpoints negative emotions as the culprit for many physical ailments, from irritable bowel syndrome to lower back pain.

But fine, we'll let scientists have their results. And we'll continue to roll our eyes, because hey! According to them, it's not going to kill us any sooner.

More from The Stir: World's Oldest Woman Turns 116 & Reveals the Secret to Longevity

In the meantime, here are some fun (and scientifically proven!) ways you CAN extend your life.

Until, of course, research proves otherwise.

1. Have sex. Orgasmic frequency (which really should be the name of a band) can drop your mortality rates by 50 percent. Just another reason to have a weekend away or at least put the kids early to bed every once in a while.

2. Have kids. According to one study, your life span increases each time you have a kid -- so long as you don't have more than 14. That is not a typo, FYI.

3. Breastfeed. Yep, just sitting there, with your boob out, feeding your baby will do it.

4. Get a family pet. Sharing your life with an animal boosts longevity! Seriously, who needs a clean house when you can adopt a puppy or kitten? That cute little sucker will add two years to your life.

5. Laugh -- a lot. Cracking up for real -- not just typing "LOL" on your phone -- can extend your life span by about eight years. (May we suggest you go back and read #1?)

6. Hang longer. Because when you have an emotional support system, your health improves and you live longer. Interesting, isn't it? That your emotions -- dare we say happiness? -- CAN affect your physical health ...

7. Being a coffee fiend is a-okay! One study found that women who drank six cups of coffee a day are 25 percent less likely to die from heart disease, while those who drink little or no coffee experience an increased incidence of stroke.

8. Embrace your inner wino. Red wine may help people to increase their life span by activating an anti-aging gene and slowing down the aging process. Cheers!

 

Image via © iStock.com/sanjeri; unsplash/myquiel burton

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