Is being evil bad for you? © 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

Is being evil bad for you?

Darth Vader might be one of cinema's most evil villains, but maybe he couldn't see what the light side of the Force had to offer.

Being bad, cruel or even evil makes some people feel good in the short term. Fighting and hurting others can be exciting, give a feeling of power, or make bad people feel superior when they see someone else suffering. But the longer lasting effect is quite the opposite.

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Research shows that doing good makes people happy, and being happy makes people do good. So there’s a virtuous cycle of kindness and generosity. Caring for others helps people to feel better about themselves and this is a lasting source of happiness. Even remembering kind deeds you have done in the past can make you smile. Happy people live longer too, although the causes are not yet clear. Health and happiness may affect each other, and a healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise and good food increases both.

So don’t envy the baddies their thrills. They will probably pay for it later.


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