Good health and happiness is a match made in heaven

It's the four keys to staying happy and in good health -- four statements I hope you can make right now:

- I enjoy the things that I do.

- I enjoy being in the company of others.

- Overall, I look back on my life with a sense of happiness.

- I feel full of energy these days.

If you can say those things and really mean them, you're probably pretty happy -- enjoying your life, and treating it like the blessing it is.

And you could be getting something just as important as happiness in return. You could be getting the gift of good health as you age -- because new research finds that the more seniors agree with those four statements, the better their overall health, especially physical function.

Happy seniors walk faster and are less likely to suffer disability with everyday activities, according to the study of 3,199 people over the age of 60.

Being sour and unhappy, on the other hand, will do just the opposite.

Unhappy seniors, for example, are three times more likely to have problems performing daily activities such as bathing and getting dressed.

And if that's not enough of a reason to turn your own frown upside down, consider this: Unhappy seniors are also about three times more likely to die sooner than happy seniors, according to an earlier study of good health from the same researchers.

While they say money can't buy happiness, the study finds that a little wealth can certainly help. But the one thing that helps the most isn't something you can buy at all.

It's your spouse.

Married seniors are simply happier than singles, according to the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

You've got a lot of reasons to be thankful for your spouse (at least, I hope you do). But maybe that's the biggest one of all.

Still looking for a reason to be happy? Consider this: Optimism can cut your risk of a heart attack in half and even help ward off stroke. You can read more about that study in this free report from my House Calls archives.