Happiness and enjoyment are linked to longer life. A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concluded that enjoyment of life is also associated with lower risk of functional impairment in men and women over age 60.
The researchers studied prospectively 3,199 men and women over age 60 and followed them for 8 years. The participants were part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Enjoyment of life was measured using a questionnaire and participants were classified into one of three groups.
Twenty one percent were deemed to have a high level of life enjoyment, 56% having a medium level of life enjoyment, and 23% having a low level of life enjoyment – so almost a perfect bell-shaped curve.
During the course of the study the participants’ ability to perform daily activities were measured along with walking speed. The results showed that 4.4% of those classified as high enjoyers of life developed two or more functional impairments, 11.7 % of those classified as medium enjoyers of life developed two or more functional impairments, and 16.8% of those classified as low enjoyers of life developed two or more functional impairments.
Gait speed was also related to enjoyment of life as well. Perhaps people who enjoy life are anxious to get where they are going and move with a sense of excitement and urgency.
The study is an observational study and does not establish cause and effect. But, the study provides more evidence that attitude is important in remaining healthy and life longer and more productive lives.
Tips to Better Enjoy Life
Here are 15 tips to better enjoy life. None of this is rocket science – just good ole common sense. Practicing on working on one of these strategies each week building on the strategy the week before. Your enjoyment for life should increase.
- Try different things or activities.
- Learn new things.
- Laugh, laugh, and laugh.
- Hang around happy people.
- Be grateful for what you do have.
- Stay connected to close friends and family.
- Become a problem solver rather than a problem creator or identifier.
- Notice and appreciate the small things.
- Help others with their problems.
- Pamper or spoil yourself every now and then.
- Listen to your heart and follow your passion.
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and your achievements.
- Accept what you can’t change, but don’t accept you cannot change some things (you can change more things than you think).
- Exercise or stay physically active.
Try these simple tips to enjoy life!