freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Worryers may live longer (who'd have thought it?) | Christine Morgan - Journalist
+44 (0)7931 342850

So riskfactorphobes may have got it right after all. At least that’s what University of California, Riverside (UCR) psychologists claim after completing a 20-year study called the Longevity Project. So whereas you might expect someone with a cheerful, non-worrying disposition with a more laid-back approach to life to be healthier in the long run – and perhaps even live longer – the opposite is actually true, say the UCR experts.

Oh dear, that’s not what I like to hear at all. After all, when did worrying ever solve anything? But there could be something in it, say the researchers. They discovered the study participants who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humour when they were young died earlier than the less cheerful and joking people. But why? Because, perhaps, people with a more optimistic view of life and health may take more risks. So if you’re committed to the principle of everything will be okay, it can be dangerous where your health is concerned.

“Prudence and persistence, however, led to a lot of important benefits for many years,” says psychology professor Howard S. Friedman, who led the study. “It turns out that happiness is not a root cause of good health. Instead, happiness and health go together because they have common roots.”

One of the things the researchers discovered from the study is that “Don’t work too hard, don’t stress” isn’t good advice where health and longevity are concerned. That’s because the study participants who were the most involved and committed to their jobs, the continually productive men and women, lived much longer than their more laid-back workmates.

And just as we were beginning to get to grips with the relax-and-take-it-easy attitude, eh?