This article is published in collaboration with Quartz.
If you’re feeling stressed and unhappy, the worry that such emotions are also bad for your health can be an added burden. But while misery is hardly a beneficial emotional state, a study published on Dec. 9 in The Lancet suggests you can at least take comfort that your unhappiness won’t actually kill you.
Researchers from Oxford University tracked the health and happiness over a 10-year period of 719,671 women aged 50 to 69 years old, who were recruited through the Million Women Study. Though illness made people miserable, unhappiness itself did not shorten life.
Co-author Sir Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology, said in a statement: “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 UK Million Women Study shows that happiness and unhappiness do not themselves have any direct effect on death rates.”
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Author: Olivia Goldhill is a Weekend Writer at Quartz.
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