03 November 2004


Oh yes! You better believe it.

But I can't blame you. In the face of rising gas prices and government officials who continue to be corrupt, it is almost impossible not to be gloomy. For the younger ones, stress can be defined as a recent break-up with a boy- or girlfriend, dipping grades, or incessant quarrels with siblings and parents. Whatever the case may be, life's circumstances make it difficult nowadays to be happy.

But I want to tell you that being gloomy won't help you either.

In fact, it might even shorten your life.

Dutch researchers, in a study published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry have found out that people who described themselves as being HIGHLY OPTIMISTIC had lower death rates from cardiovascular and other causes of death than people who were always gloomy and pessimistic.

Much of this reduced risk was due to lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease among the most optimistic men and women in the study. They were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular cause than the most pessimistic group regardless of factors such as age, weight, smoking and whether they had cardiovascular or other chronic diseases at the study's start.

With other factors considered, the risk of death was 29 percent lower among highly optimistic men and women.

There are a number of possible explanations for the findings, according to the researchers. One is that, although chronic disease was accounted for in this study, pessimistic participants still may have been in poorer general health, possibly suffering "subclinical" health conditions.

But optimism may have had positive effects as well. Optimists, Giltay and his colleagues note, may be better at coping with adversity, and may, for example, be more likely to comply with medical treatment if they do fall ill.

It's also possible, they add, that there are biological benefits of having a sunnier disposition, such as effects on the immune and hormonal systems. [ Reuters Health]

The journal study can be accessed here.

In practice, I have always observed that there is a world of difference between an OPTIMISTIC sick patient and a GLOOMY sick patient. The optimistic patient has always recovered more favorably and faster than his depressed counterpart.

The times might be bad, but let us not make it worse by being ever-worried, ever-anxious, and ever-depressed.

Let us help ourselves.

I do not know if you remember a fellow by the name of Bobby McFerrin. During the late 80s, he sang:

Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy

In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy.......


Be happy, people!

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