Are You Grumpy? Good, Says Research


You know, people are always saying look at the bright side. Look at all of the wonderful things that have been given to you. Look at the pretty streets someone paved for you, and be thankful for your McDonald’s managerial job. It could be so much worse! You could be unemployed and living in your car with a thousand cats that you breed for food! Aren’t you just so happy that you have all of the blessings you have?

Well research indicates that these bottles of sunshine are WRONG. So there.

A recent study from Germany has actually found that low expectations for a satisfying future led to happier, healthier lives, and people who are plagued by negative thoughts are much more likely to live longer.

This wasn’t some small study, either. More than 40,000 people participated over a period of 10 years. The study found that being cliché crap like “optimistic” and “overly happy” was an excellent predictor of who was going to die and become disabled within the next decade or so.

Pissy, grumpy, pessimistic people lived more carefully and took more precautions to live longer. Let me tell you, this sounds like a bunch of BS, but then I think about my grandfather. That old man was born in 1922, and he always has something angry or negative to say about some situation. Preservatives in foods. Lazy children. The dangers of a government that tries to implant listening devices in your hearing aids (don’t ask). And you know what? He outlived all three of his brothers, all of who were younger than him.

Damn it. From childhood we are trained to look at the sunny side, and that’s all just because the world wants us to die earlier and take unnecessary risks and explode while we’re making dinner one night. Sigh.

So the study included three age groups: 18-39, 40-64, and 65 and older. They took a simple questionnaire that included a question about how satisfied they would be in five years… or how satisfied they thought they would be.

The same group (those who were still alive) was interviewed five years later, and the results of the first questionnaires were compared to the data on the second. And you know what? Forty-three percent of the oldest group had underestimated their future happiness, and 32 percent had overestimated it. Among that 32 percent, 9.5 percent reported an increase in disabilities. There was also a 10-percent increased risk of death in this group (I’m not sure how they got this statistic, though. Did they interview the dead people? Because that’s both illegal and creepy). Grumpy old folks had a more “realistic” outlook and were more accurate about their perceived happiness.

People younger than 39 were the sunniest of all, and the statistics seemed to be the same: The risk of disability and death was much higher when the first questionnaire was compared to the second. “These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life,” said lead scientist Frieder R. Lang.

Do you feel like you’re an Eeyore who is always down on life and brings other people down, too? Do you feel like you’re just too realistic for the asinine pricks around you who insist you “turn that frown upside down?” Shove this damn article in their face and tell them to shove their rainbows somewhere the sun don’t shine, because obviously you’re going to live a longer, healthier—though