Makes you stronger. That is, at least, the adage. Now there's objective evidence that the old saw may really be true in the current issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. A bit of a stretch for us, we admit in this week's podcast, but there it is. Rick and I were both persuaded by the U-shaped curve related to life events and measures of happiness.
Researchers surveyed just about 2400 people on their exposure to lifetime stressful events, recently experienced adversity, and several measures of happiness and mental health, including global distress, functional impairment, life satisfaction and post traumatic stress symptoms. Each respondent was queried three more times over the next several years.
What emerged from the data crunch was a U-shaped curve. Those who reported low levels of adverse life events had higher rates of mental distress, those who had a moderate level of stress were happier and more resilient, and those with a high level of stressful life events were predictably less well adjusted and unhappy. Huh. Who knew that indeed, some stressful life events could indeed result in more satisfaction over the long haul?
Clearly, along with this adage is the one about viewing the glass as half full and the silver linings in clouds and...certainly none of us would advocate for stumbling blocks in our path but it's good to know that they can have a benefit. And it argues for thoughtful cultivation of such an attitude when the going gets tough, as it does for us all.
Other topics this week include the dangers of hormone replacement therapy in perhaps promoting more aggressive breast cancer in this week's JAMA, the modest benefit to the patient of home monitoring for a common blood thinner in NEJM, and the dangers of invasive dental treatments in this issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Until next week, y'all live well.