These two chapters were especially interesting to me because I used to be someone who was very pessimistic and would look at the bad in life, but I’ve grown to be a cautiously optimistic person. Chapter 4, in its discussion about optimism, stated that a certain amount of optimism is a good thing–just don’t let it get out of control to a point of carelessness. It also commented on how many people believe that with happiness comes mental health, disproving this idea. Health and happiness are both outcomes of a lifestyle or childhood that then promote a good/better lifestyle. I really liked Friedman and Martin’s example of Emma; how she wasn’t especially cheerful, but she enjoyed life. Once again, it highlights just how individualistic health is.
I felt Chapter 5 was straight-forward for the most part. If one has catastrophic thoughts, they’re more likely to commit suicide or not take medicines because they believe their life is already on a set path that won’t get better with time or they are extremely at fault. I’ve definitely heard that, on average, men prefer to use guns for suicide and women like to use drugs, but I wish the authors went into more detail on why there is that difference.
What I found most interesting from both of these chapters was the discussion about most effective methods of treatment. In both cases, seeking out professional help was highly recommended, but also keeping a journal and logging good things that happen during the day or something that will keep us feeling more optimistic than pessimistic.