Do Happiness and Hard Work Benefit Health?

Can being happy and working hard really be health-promoting?


Any merit to the old saw that happiness and hard work are good for your health?

Happiness in many forms can be good for your health; for example, recent data from the Women’s Health Initiative Study showed that women who were most optimistic and who expected good things to happen were 14 percent less likely to die than pessimists over an eight-year follow-up, and 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease. This may be partly because the more optimistic individuals also had better health habits, like smoking less. A number of studies now suggest that people who have more positive moods and who are happier have, on average, better-functioning immune systems. 

Hard work (if it is not overwork) may also be beneficial; when people feel involved and productive and in control of their work, the good feelings that come from work seem to be good for health. But feeling out of control, overscheduled, or unable to control the important things at work can promote depression, anxiety, and poor health.

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