Happy people live longer. That is the conclusion of Marilyn Elias writing in USA Today. She quoted Beverly Bennett of Duke University Medical Center as saying, “People could potentially extend their life spans with positive emotions.” Brummet’s study followed 866 adults who had heart disease. Cheerful patients had a 20 percent better survival rate. Why the improvement? There are several possible factors. It appears that cheerful people are less likely to produce damaging hormones. Happy people also enjoy more social support. Whatever the underlying cause, we should not be surprised. After all, the Bible reminds us that a merry heart is like medicine and the joy of the Lord is our strength.


J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.