Recently, I read an article about life expectancy of pessimists vs. optimists – maybe you read that, too? Surprisingly, pessimists tend to live longer than optimists. By the way, we are talking about a German study. It’s not hard to find plenty of pessimists in that country, but where did they dig up the optimists? (Just kidding, in fact I do know a few German optimists.)
So, ok, up to now I always strongly believed the opposite to be true. Why isn’t it? According to the studies, it might be due to the fact that pessimists live more carefully, in that they e.g. visit the doctor more frequently. I know this very cheerful type who runs to the doctor all the time hoping to be diagnosed with some terminal illness that would once and for all justify his / her constant grumpiness. And of course, it is most desirable to become 106 having spent years in a doctor’s waiting room.
On top of that, scientists found that people with good health and a stable income are prone to suffer a greater decline than people with low income and poor health. Oh, really? Well, isn’t that logical? If you are already struggling to survive, how much deeper can you fall?
So what are we supposed to do now? Should we all become pessimists and mope around for decades to come? And when are we then supposed to celebrate our grumpy victory? When we turn 100 or only when we turn 105?
I think scientists should be more careful about spreading the news. After all, what happens if all pessimists now jump with unexpected joy and as a consequence suffer a heart attack?