Chapter 4 mainly discussed the relationship between happiness and longevity. Surprisingly, the authors found that individuals who were more optimistic tended to live shorter lives. However, children that grew up in a more serious manner lived longer healthier lives. I really found this shocking, as we are commonly told that the happiness is the key to a long life. Having fun and laughing often are thought to be some of the best remedies for any illness. The authors find that a little worrying is actually beneficial, while too much enthusiasm can be detrimental to ones health. The ones who lived longest tended to be happy, but the happiest did not live the longest. Chapter 5 discusses individuals that catastrophic and how it negatively effects these individuals. These people are over worriers, which leads to a shorter life but for reasons unrelated to health. Catastrophic thinkers encounter more accidents and are more likely to die from these accidents, than more calm individuals. Their over worrying, also led to more intentional deaths. These chapters stress the importance of moderation and not be too nervous but also not blindly happy.
I again appreciated the tests provided in both these chapters. It was interesting to see that over happiness can actually have negative effects. In the past, I would consider myself a pretty happy, but not overly happy and a calm person, which both positively influence longevity. However, I was confused with them mentioning that older people tend to be happier. I would not necessarily say older individuals are happier, because they are healthy. There are many older individuals I have encountered that were grumpy and did not live the healthiest lifestyles when they were younger. I believe there are more factors to longevity of life than simply being more serious or overly happy. Not every overly happy person is blindly happy, while not every older person is healthy and happy.
These chapters lead me to believe that I am on a healthy path which I find exciting. It was interesting that the older Termites interviewed didn’t mention their own death, but rather their life and what they are happy for. While this alone does not promise longevity, I hope that I live a life without regrets of what I had done or things I wish I had pursued. The chapters, also acted as a reminder to not over worry or become blindly happy, but to worry when necessary.