According to a recent report from the Million Woman Study, although poor health can lead to unhappiness and a shorter life span, unhappiness alone is not related to a shorter life span. Beginning in 1996, this investigation has tracked the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women in the United Kingdom.
In the third year of the study, the women were asked to rate their health, happiness, stress, sense of control, and relaxation. When the researchers examined data from 720,000 women with a median age of 59, they discovered that 83% reported being generally happy and 17% reported being unhappy. Over the course of ten years of follow-up, 4% of participants perished. When the researchers accounted for poor health, which was strongly associated with unhappiness, they discovered that the risk of death for happy and unhappy women was virtually identical. The study was published online in The Lancet on December 6, 2015.
If you are depressed but otherwise healthy, you may find it somewhat reassuring to learn that, at least according to this study, your mood may not influence your risk of dying within the next decade.