And this is not an isolated finding. Researchers examining very, very large groups of people (N=6,856) have also found that positive emotions (and the absence of negative feelings) predict living longer, even after taking into account the health conditions and a variety of demographic variables, such as age, sex and education).
Time to start making a change?
One of the best ways to increase the amount of enjoyment in your life is to increase the number of pleasurable activities you have. That sounds easy enough, and there is no shortage of pleasurable activities to choose from. Very often, the hard part is choosing one or two activities and just getting started.
If you are not sure where to get started, check out our Big List of Pleasurable Activities. Find something simple, like a walk, that you might do most days. It could be just before you start your day or just after you finish your day. Then, on the weekend, pick one thing you can do that looks like it might be fun. If you can do it with a friend, or even some you know just a little, even better. Then you get the benefit of both the activity and of spending time with someone else.
Not sure what to do? If you are not sure what to do try downloading our Big List of Enjoyable Activities that can help get you started.
Tip: Don’t decide if what you are thinking about is going to be fun until you do it. One of the biggest mistakes people make is deciding if something is going to be fun before they actually do it. So, take a risk, ignore your uncertainty add a pleasurable activity to your life. The research says there’s a good chance you might just live longer.
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Danner, D. D., Snowdon, D. A., & Friesen, W. V. (2001). Positive emotions in early life and longevity: findings from the nun study. Journal of personality and social psychology, 80(5), 804–813.
Xu, J., & Roberts, R. E. (2010). The power of positive emotions: it’s a matter of life or death–subjective well-being and longevity over 28 years in a general population. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 29(1), 9–19. https://doi-org.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/10.1037/a0016767
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