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Further Death Of The Cool

August 11, 2009

This makes me laugh.

An American study shows that “optimistic women” have better heart health and greater longevity than “cynical women who harboured hostile thoughts about others or were generally mistrusting of others.”

The findings echo results of Dutch research indicating similar correlations between attitude and health among men.

Lead researcher Dr Hilary Tindle, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “The majority of evidence suggests that sustained, high degrees of negativity are hazardous to health.”

But, I mean, what if they had found the opposite?  Should we then try to be as cynical and pessimistic as possible, so that we’d have more years to fill up with misery?

Folks, I’m getting a familiar whiff of The Cool, here.  According to The Cool’s logic, being negative is worthwhile because you gain things by it: things like protection (via mistrust); righteousness (from hostility, making someone else the ‘enemy’); or realism (you’re the anti-Pollyanna/up on the news/nobody’s fool).

If we accept this logic, then we might ask whether positivity has its own compensatory benefits.

And wouldn’t you know: it does!  So science adds another tally to the “pro” side of happiness: “Being positive helps you live longer.”

But…do you see where I’m going with this?  Can you smell what I’m cookin’?

Being positive helps you live better, for however long.

Ultimately, none of the supposed ‘benefits’ of negativity that The Cool promises us are true benefits at all.  They’re simply variations on what The Cool loves best: more coolness.  Even longer lifespans can be a form of Cool.

Now, of course, blind optimism never helped anyone, either.  Nobody needs to live in denial.  Optimism and realism can, and should, go together.  All I’m saying is…when it comes to positivity versus negativity, there’s really no contest.  Chuck the pro/con list and take a page from the book of these beautiful abuelas.

Or, if you prefer, heed the wise words of De La Soul:

And stop frownin like you hostile
You know that it’s a booger rubbin up against your nostril

Heh. Can you get much realer than that?

Hat tip to Junot for the article.

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