life, philosophy, thoughts

Optimists Beware!

optimism 5
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I usually don’t post a blog on Tuesdays, nor do I like to write over 500 words (this is 568), but I heard something on the radio yesterday that had my thoughts whirling. I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment, when a filler-news-story reported on the latest research study.

 Pessimists Live Longer and Healthier Lives! 

What? 

Do you mean to tell me, that I have been retraining my brain to think positive instead of the worst case scenario, for nothing? In fact, according to the news article, I’m now at a greater risk for death! Who knew! 

See, I was right all along, and I should be worrying about future events that have not happened. I knew I needed to have a sour attitude about all the bad things happening in my life and in the world, instead of being grateful for the good. Now I’ve gone and shortened my life span.

A quote from the article states:
“Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade.” 

The two words in red particularly jumped out at me. Do they mean anything to you? 

Furthermore, the article uses words such as, unrealistic optimism, overestimated and underestimated. Can you understand why these particular words stand out? It never ceases to amaze me how misleading the media can be. They are describing extremism, not optimism. Am I the only one who understands the concept of balance

genie bottle 2
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

If we overly do anything, we are unlikely to get a favorable outcome. If we overeat, if we over drink, if we oversleep. Or, we underestimate how much something is going to cost. Or, if we overestimate how good our hair might look in the color lime-green. If we are unrealistic in thinking we can fold our arms and blink to get our wish, like Barbara Eden, we probably won’t see an optimistic end.

Another quote from the article says, “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions…” 

Optimism does not mean we are ignorant morons who don’t understand the realities of this physical world. Just because someone has a positive attitude, or is grateful for what they have, doesn’t mean they don’t take precautions. In fact, I’m optimistic for the very reason that I am prepared. 

I don’t understand why, but it appears to me that our media seeks to create a country, and even an entire world of malcontents. After all, in order to be happy, we need to depend on someone else to take care of us, like … say … our governments. They are so much better at taking care of us than we simpletons are at taking care of ourselves. We’re so pie-eyed in our rose-colored glasses that we can’t even see clear enough to prepare. They think they’ve even proved it by paying for a study on the subject. 

If I could ask readers to get one thing out of this post, please do your own research and don’t rely on the media. In doing so, please be open to reading all sources, not just one-sided ones.

I wish for this blog post to be over with now. I’m folding my arms … 

Blink

Hey, how bout that, I can just “blink” and get my wish.

24 thoughts on “Optimists Beware!”

    1. Thank you for thinking of me, Anneli. This looks like fun. I’m just falling behind on my writing badly and don’t think I’ll be able to get to it. I’m too obsessed with blogging. Have a deadline for my writer’s group this week. I enjoyed reading your travel confession, and boy can I relate to packing situation.

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  1. I found an article in today’s new which validates your point of view…
    “An ongoing study of Sydney centenarians by the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of NSW has painted a surprisingly optimistic picture of life at 100.
    It has found most people who reach this age are happy with their lot; they may be frail but are generally healthy. They tend to be optimistic, take a keen interest in the world and are active. They also often have strong family or social networks and value their independence. Of the more than 300 people aged 95 or older initially followed in the study, 58percent lived independently.
    Dr Charlene Levitan, who has led the study since it began in 2008, says most people believe the older they get, the more unwell they will become. “Yet our research correlates well with studies overseas that show the majority of centenarians are psychologically very well, and report a much higher general satisfaction with life than 70- to 90-year-olds,” she says.
    This satisfaction with life, or indeed, happiness, seems to be a common trait among those aged over 95. Similarities in personality among the very old appear to be so marked thatthe research suggests there is such a thing as a “centenarian personality” .
    “Centenarians tend to be independent, optimistic, cheerful, busy,” Levitan says. “They are very adaptive, flexible and resilient. They have low levels of depression and neuroticism and this stands them in good stead from a pyschological side of things. They may be frail physically but are strong mentally.”
    These personality traits may in turn have implications for their physical health.
    Centenarians generally have lower rates of heart disease and diabetes than those in their 80s, and there is some evidence that they have lower rates of dementia, though it is hard to get solid data on this because of differing international criteria on the definition of dementia.
    Levitan sums it up: “It seems the older you are, the healthier you’ve been and the healthier you are.” 😀
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-at-100-it-only-gets-better-20130301-2fbct.html

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  2. I love the way you think! Listening to your own heart–not listening to what others might say. Digging deeper. Finding out what’s true for you. And then sharing it with us. Thank you, Lori. It’s always good to share what’s uniquely yours. We may discover what’s uniquely ours…

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    1. Thanks for coming over, Kathy. I’ve learned so much from optimists like you and my husband, and it’s all been to my benefit. So, I needed to get that off my chest. 🙂

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      1. Pssst, want to know what I really believe, Lori? I think we’re all some strange mixture of optimist and pessimist. We’re all both, even though some of us land on one side or the other more often…

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          1. P.S. I will never think of a pessimist as strictly a pessimist anymore. Will add the definition of “realist” to the mix…

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  3. This is the kind of thing that really annoys me about the media. I don’t know how many people, like you, would think to question the information. People are going to really believe this stuff and what was the purpose? To turn optimistic people into cynics? It’s hard to know what to believe anymore.

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  4. Ever since 24/7 news stations started on cable, this problem has intensified a million-fold. To keep viewers, the stories get more extreme and the presenters more bombastic. Then it spread to print media as they tried to keep up with the cable outlets. And it’s spread from there into every corner of everyday life. You’d think the world was ending in nuclear war the way we’re assaulted from every direction.

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  5. 🙂 Blink! Very nice! Optimists pessimists, what about realists? It’s one thing to see the silver lining in a bad situation and move on, hopefully learning something. It’s another to be a polyana.. It’s another to be so negative and jaded you only expect the worst. Yes, BALANCE. You said it!

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  6. I love the way you finished this post! Personally, I’d rather live shorter and happier than longer and more miserable/worried…so I won’t be paying attention to any such surveys. And you’re so right – it’s all about balance, which this study clearly was not!

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  7. The media creates news when there is none…I have the utmost disrespect for mainstream media.
    This was a good, sound piece of advice.
    Thank you for deciding to have your say!

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