A spirited appreciation of and guide to the health benefits of an upbeat outlook on life.
By now, there have been enough studies to state the obvious, even if we haven’t cracked its genetic code or calibrated its precise nature/nurture balance: Being able to find your way to the bright side of the road will bless you with a longer, happier life than any grump out there is going to enjoy (or rather, not enjoy). Tindle (Medicine/Univ. of Pittsburgh) presents the latest findings on this subject with a freshness that could sell thousands of rose-colored glasses. Yet hers is not a witless optimism but a hard-won state of awareness, achieved by fighting through sloughs of despond and touched by a bit of knowing blindness that “protects us from being paralyzed by the fear that naturally arises on facing the unfiltered gravitas of a tough scenario.” Tindle recognizes the value of an individual's outlook, with its particular personality, character traits, disposition and attitudes, but she also sharply discourages readers from pulling the optimistic wool over their eyes. Among her correctives are short, educational passages on cognitive behavioral therapy, contemplation, guided imagery and motivational interviewing. She is constantly on the hunt for outlook optimization and ever mindful of the challenging psychological gymnastics of preventive health care. "If things become unstable,” she advises pragmatically, “scanning the horizon [and] formulating a plan B" are valuable fallback positions. A questionnaire helps readers locate their "attitude latitude," a too-cute phrase for the insightful summary it provides of a respondent's basic outlook.
“Perhaps the real fountain of youth emanates not from the cosmetics counter but from what’s between your ears.” Tindle makes a warm, accessible case, though Estée Lauder may not want us to hear it.