I found it very surprising that the researchers came to the conclusion that happiness was actually less likely to determine a longer life than seriousness. That’s very counterintuitive to me. But I guess it kind of goes along with the previous chapter about how being social doesn’t relate to a longer life. In relation to the catastrophizing chapter, it would make sense that it’s important to be happy but also worry when things seem to be off. However, in the following chapter, obviously worrying too much may be fatal.
What I gathered from the chapter on happiness is that it’s necessary to have a happy medium concerning optimism and cheerfulness. Yes, it’s important to approach new situations with a smile on your face and an open mind, however, thinking too optimistically may cloud your judgment. One example in the chapter talks about how too much optimism when being diagnosed with an illness can be dangerous. This is because you may get to hopeful and positive, which may cause you to focus less on the doctor’s recommendations and directions. However, I do think that it’s important to maintain some level of positivity as seen when patients take placebo pills and actually end up getting somewhat better.
On the other hand as I was saying, it’s important to not blow things completely out of proportion, which I do tend to do a lot. In a sense, it relates back to the researchers talking about optimism and neuroticism in the previous chapter. If you have a tendency to over-generalize things into a negative prediction, a negative result is more likely to happen. I can’t help but be reminded of the phrase “Believing is Seeing,” which relates to the concept that thinking positive thoughts will likely lead to positive outcomes. I can see how being a catstrophizer can definitely relate to possible mental issues, and that mental health issues does in fact correlate highly with dangerous or provoked death. As the researchers state, you can change the way that you think just by training yourself to think more positive thoughts and stop catastrophizing as soon as you begin. I think that was a great reminder for myself as well as others, that things don’t have to seem as bad as you think they are. It’s up to you to reframe your thoughts into something more positive. Your thoughts are as positive as you make them out to be.