Many factors contribute to life expectancy levels. The clean air, relaxing coastal retreats, abundant local produce and largely peaceful nature of life in the two counties no doubt play their part. Interestingly, happiness levels also play a role in life expectancy.

People in Norfolk and Suffolk already enjoy a longer life expectancy than the UK average. Male life expectancy at birth across the UK is 77.9 years. In Norfolk, that figure rises to 79.2 years, while in Suffolk it reaches 79.6 years. Female life expectancy at birth is a little higher: 82.0 years nationally, 83.2 years in Norfolk and 83.5 years in Suffolk.

A study by University College London examined the relationship between life expectancy and happiness in older people. The team had expected to see some correlation between the two, but were shocked at how pronounced the results were. Those who reported feeling happy, content or excited on a typical day were up to 35% less likely to die over the course of the five-year study.

When it comes to happiness levels in Norfolk and Suffolk, the figures are once more ahead of the UK average (mean) ratings. Happiness levels across the UK were reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as reaching an average of 7.48 in 2015/16 – the highest they have been for several years. In Norfolk, the average figure as 7.49, while in Suffolk it was 7.56. Meanwhile, stress levels across the two counties were somewhat lower than the UK average (which stood at 2.87 in 2015/16, according to the ONS). Stress levels in Norfolk were reported as 2.65 on average over the period, while in Suffolk the figure stood at 2.81.

The data also shows that those in Norfolk and Suffolk enjoy greater overall life satisfaction levels than the UK average, at 7.73 for Norfolk and 7.68 for Suffolk, compared to 7.65 nationally. They also feel more worthwhile, at an average of 7.97 for Norfolk and 7.90 for Suffolk, compared with 7.84 across the UK.

If those levels alone aren’t reassuring enough for you, there are steps that you can take to boost your own happiness levels and thus positively impact your life expectancy. Studies have examined the relationship between simulated gambling and happiness in older people, finding that all those who took part were happier during the activity than before it. One increasingly popular method can be found by playing Poker at Slot Boss, the thrill of the game can be a great boost to happiness levels, even without taking home the pot. A single hand can provide a thrill of excitement. Plus, of course, there’s always the possibility of winning big, another happiness boost.

As indicated above, happiness and life expectancy are complex issues with a great many variable factors. However, knowing that happiness equals longer life can certainly provide added impetus to ensure that each day in Norfolk and Suffolk is as happy an occasion as possible!