One of the biggest takeaways from chapter 4 is the idea that the participants who lived a long satisfying life did not pursue happiness, rather their happiness was a by-product of their pathways to long life. Their social relationships, careers, hobbies, and habits lead the participants to a healthy lifestyle and therefore lead to happiness. I think it is interesting that happy people are not necessarily healthy because they may only be engaging in short term happiness, which consequently will not lead to living a healthy life. It is also important to remember that happiness is not a direct cause of good health. For anyone trying to become happier and more satisfied with their life, it is important to engage in healthy relationships and activities, and as a result happiness will often times follow.
Reading about the Tinker Bell Principle in chapter 4 was interesting because I had never heard about this idea prior to this reading. I found the concept of having high levels of optimism not being necessarily beneficial interesting. I always believed that having a positive mindset, emotions, and outlook on life would lead an individual to be healthier and happier, which is the study of positive psychology. After further reading I do understand how being too optimistic could lead an individual to become disappointed or frustrated with an unexpected outcome, and therefore experience additional stress.
In chapter 4 I also found the term “illusory optimism” to be an interesting concept. Meaning that optimistic people can sometimes overlook or ignore threats. These individuals may underestimate risks to their health and therefore will not take the necessary precautions. Overall, it seems that it is important for people to be optimistic at the right times and to the correct degree in order to remain healthier and live longer.
From chapter 5, it makes sense to me that individuals who catastrophize events die sooner. If you are constantly fearing the worse and stressing about seemingly rare events, then it makes sense that you would not live as long a life due to being constantly stressed and anxious. I also thought it was interesting how catastrophizes were more likely to die from accidents and violence than noncatastrophizers. These individuals who catastrophize events put themselves onto risky pathways that are more likely to lead to a violent death, such as suicide.
It is helpful to know that we do have the power to stop our negative thoughts, through cognitive therapy strategies such as thought replacement. When an individual stops thinking about a harmful thought they then replace that negative thought with a positive or realistic idea.