A new study has found that happiness may bring health.
Researchers from University College London tested 116 men and 100 women who were taking part in a major study of thousands of London-based civil servants to investigate the risk factors for coronary heart disease. The researchers evaluated the level of happiness of the subjects during the course of the day.
The researchers found that levels of cortisol -- a stress hormone related to conditions including type II diabetes and high blood pressure -- were 32 percent lower in people who reported more happy moments. Happy people also had lower levels of plasma fibrinogen -- a marker for inflammation and an indication of heart disease -- when they were stressed.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The BBC and WebMD carry reports on the study.
By focusing on happiness, this study complements some others that find that psychological distress adversely affects health -- see for example "Stress and ageing".