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Why being too cheerful could damage your health.

Updated on October 30, 2012

It would appear my life expectancy reduces as the day goes on.

Reasons not to be cheerful.

The journal, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, published a long term study back in 2002.The lives of 1,216 children where followed by psychologists from 1922.It found that those who were considered to be optimistic and happy, where more likely to die before the more morose and doleful: and this is where my problem arises.

I am not a good and cheerful optimist in the morning. Until I have had my first cup of coffee. I am a silent morose pessimist, but as the day progresses and my brain begins to function as a proper human brain should, I begin to have a more cheerful outlook on life and thus, according to the findings of the report, my longevity begins to shorten.

Reasons to be grumpy.

This is based on information from the University of California that states that youths with a cheery outlook are more likely to take risks as their optimism clouded their judgement and made the dangers seem inconsequential .The reports concludes “although optimism has been shown to have a positive effects when people are faced with a short term crisis, the long term effects of cheerfulness are more complex”: and it seems being a grump can enable us to cope with difficult situations. Being glum, it would appear, is a more natural reaction to hard and difficult situations. This is according to the findings of an Australian study undertaken in 2007.

The Australian researchers set a series of rigorous intelligence tests, and the results indicated that the grumpy people out performed the cheerful ones. The grumps made fewer mistakes and seemed to be superior in communications. The researchers went on to say “In contrast to the happier types, miserable people are better at decision making and less gullible ”A professor of decision making at Leeds university, John Maule, states that there is a broad body of research that supports this thinking.

More reasons to be grumpy.

Professor Maule relates that being grumpy can enable people to think more clearly when times are hard. He goes on to say “People in negative moods tend to think more deeply and in a more analytical style, and rely less on intuition” People thinking negatively are more likely to recognise a problem and focus on solving it, where as a positive outlook will signal the opposite and encourage the optimist to free wheel. And it would appear there is more bad news for the people who” keep smiling through”

A Professor Dieter Zapf of the University of Frankfurt, undertook a study of more than 4000 workers in 2004, and discovered that those workers, such as shop assistants who have to face the public, suffered increased risks of high blood pressure, depression and cardiovascular problems brought on by stress caused by having to constantly be cheerful while on duty. Professor Zapf recommended that these “professional smilers “should be allowed special breaks where they can relax and maybe sink in to some minutes of grumpiness.

A senior psychology lecturer, Simon Moss, of the Monash University in Melbourne, draws similar conclusions to those of Professor Zapt. He found it was easy to encourage natural optimist to be positive, but only compromised the well-being of the majority of people who were not so positively inclined and are continually exhorted to “keep smiling”. However all is not lost for the eternal optimist.

Reasons to be cheerful (at last).

The Longitudinal Study of Ageing carried out research on 10,000 English people throughout their older age. This research found that those people who remained cheerful through their middle years, where more likely to outlive their morose counterparts by ten years.

So what conclusions can we draw from all this advice and research? Maybe my method of being a grump in the morning and a smiler in the afternoon is the way to go. By the time the evening arrives, the correct balance will have been achieved. So the advice is, keep smiling: but don’t overdo it.


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      The results of all of those studies is interesting to say the least. I think that your approach might just be right. Haha! Up, interesting and funny votes.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Interesting & funny. Shared & voted up.