Don’t worry, be happy. It’s good for your health, right? Well as it turns out, that may just be another one of those old wives tales. At least according to a new study that says miserable people can be just as healthy as happy people.
That’s right — Scrooge could have lived to be a ripe old cantankerous man whether he was happy or not (and, um, had those pesky spirits let him).
According to a study from Australia, it’s not actually being sad that makes you sick — it’s being sick that makes you sad. How’s that for a correlation? It totally makes sense though; when we’re sick or depressed not only do we feel crappy on the inside and outside, but we’re often held back from doing those activities that give us pure joy.
We’d say the study pulled from a fairly comprehensive study to get these results, too. There were 1.3 million women in the U.K. who were recruited between 1996 and 2001 through breast screening programs in England and Scotland. Of those, more than 700,000 women between the ages of 55 and 63 were analyzed on their health and happiness three years after the study began. Roughly one in six said they were generally happy.
So what’s the bottom line? While triggers like deprivation, smoking, not exercising and being single do have an affect on happiness, the researchers concluded that that the strongest association was health. Those that were in poor health were unhappy, not in control, stressed out and couldn’t relax.
Huh. There you go. If you’re feeling down, maybe it’s okay to wallow in your feelings — at least for a little while. Obviously if those symptoms persist you’ll want to speak with your health provider. But we can all rest assured that the next time we’re completely unhappy from a crappy day, it might not be that bad for our health after all.