Craig F. Walker Denver Post

Being Sad Won’t Kill You Any Faster, Says Science

We're all gonna go eventually, with or without a smile on our face.

Cheer up. All that moping is going to do you in. Being sad takes years off your life.

Well, guess what? Suck it. I can be as sad as I want as often as I want because, according to science, it's totally fine. In fact, all you dopes running around being happy all the time are gonna live just as long (or short) as me. Deal with it.

According to a study released on Wednesday by the British journal The Lancet titled "Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK Million Women Study," you might be unhappy because you're unhealthy and you might die sooner because you're sick.

But, after following one million middle-aged women in Britain for a decade, the researchers found that the widely held notion that happiness makes you healthier and helps you live longer is just a myth.

"Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality," the researchers concluded, according to The New York Times.

One of the authors of the study, Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Oxford said part of the reason they undertook the study was to examine the idea that stress and unhappiness can cause disease and that people who are negative somehow bring sickness on themselves with their dark attitudes.

"Believing things that aren’t true isn’t a good idea," Peto told the Times. "There are enough scare stories about health." Peto explained that earlier research "confused cause and effect, suggesting that unhappiness made people ill when it is actually the other way around."

After tracking the million women, aged 50-69 from 1996-2001 and asking them how often they felt happy, relaxed, stressed and having them rate their health and list any ailments, researchers found that unhappiness and stress were not tied to an increased chance of death. (It's not clear how these results might be applied to men, or younger women.)

"This finding refutes the large effects of unhappiness and stress on mortality that others have claimed," Dr. Peto said, noting that while unhappiness may not have a direct health effect, it can hurt in other ways by "driving people to suicide, alcoholism or other dangerous behaviors."

The core belief that being unhappy can make you sick will probably live on, Peto said, regardless of his findings. "People are still going to believe that stress causes heart attacks," he said.