Being happy does not help you live longer

“*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer,” New Scientist, Dec. 10, 2015.

The power of positive thinking has passed into folklore, helping to fuel a large self-help industry – not to mention people who like to post “inspirational” quotes on social media.

Some cancer bloggers complain that common advice to “fight” their illness by staying cheerful can be unhelpful. “Forcing optimism may have its own negative consequences,” says Gayle Sulik, who writes the “Pink Ribbon Blues” blog. “The emotional work to display optimism when a person does not feel it may add to stress.”

And a massive study on the link between mood and mortality suggests that happiness actually has no effect on death rates. Journal reference: Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(15)01087-9

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For more on the role of optimism in cancer culture, go to “hope” a Breast Cancer Consortium Topic.

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