Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fear Keeps you from Living a Longer and Happier Life

John Stossel wrote a piece titled The Media likes Scaring us and we like it. He discusses the network of people that benefit from scaring people - environmentalists, researchers,government bureaucrats and trial lawyers, labeling them the "Fear Industrial Complex"(FIC). The FIC does a good job of scaring us. I remember the wave of fear about overhead power lines that cost lots of people equity in their homes - only later did we find out that the researcher had falsified the data and there was no evidence power lines were related to increased cancer risks. Owens-Corning lost a billion dollars over silicone breast implants lawsuits but now the implants are deemed safe and women are have the same surgery again. All created trial lawyer greed that got people afraid of a myth. Of course, we continue to read the newspaper and believe nonsense about the poor economy, unwinnable wars and global warming.

So many people adopt a pessimist point of view. The irony of this, is that a pessimistic view point becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for a lousy, shorter life. Here's some information from an Aetna website (can't link since it is behind a secure log-in):

"Americans are living longer than ever. Over the past century, the average American lifespan has increased a whopping 27 years. What’s the secret to a long and healthy life?

Good genes help. You get them from your parents. And since you can't pick your parents, this avenue to a longer life is out of your control. Besides, the value of good genes is in question. New research from Yale University found that genes contribute only 25% to the length of your life. This seems to mean that other factors, such as health behaviors and mental health, play a role in longevity, too.

Yale study claims that a good attitude helps keep your heart pumping and your feet tapping an additional 7.6 years on average. An optimistic outlook adds more years to your life than low blood pressure (4 years or less), low cholesterol (4 years or less), a healthy weight (1 to 3 years) and regular exercise (1 to 3 years).

"These Are the Good Old Days"The Yale study suggests that people who believe negative stereotypes about growing old may face a reduced life expectancy. If you think old people are frail and sickly, you'll probably see yourself as frail and
sickly when you get old."

So all that exercising you do and healthy eating are negated by reading and believing the garbage from the media.

1 comment:

TherapyDoc said...

We waste so much time absorbing that stuff, it's true. But actually doing something different, well, people are afraid of that, too.