"Several large research studies conducted over the past few years show that a person's personality naturally changes over the course of adulthood, in response to life events such as entering a committed relationship or advancing in a career. From the ages of 20 to 65, people report increases in positive traits, such as conscientiousness, and decreases in negative traits, such as neuroticism. Most people tend to become more agreeable, more responsible, more emotionally stable—in other words, their personalities improve. Psychologists call it the Maturity Principle. Researchers have also long known that friendly, outgoing, responsible people tend to be happier than shy, irresponsible, unsociable people. But in a new twist [...]
Grief-Stricken Polar Bear Occasionally Distracted From The Crushing Burden Of Existence By Frozen Fish Treat
My disposition is not by nature one that tends toward cheerfulness. In any given situation the first thing I am most likely to experience is an overwhelming cascade of sadness, of melancholy, of lost hope and lives lived without joy. Often these impressions are faulty or unreliable, but it is the way in which I am wired, apparently; I cannot help but be overcome by an immobilizing sense of sorrow in every environment I encounter, and even an awareness that things are almost certainly not as bad as I am understanding them to be only makes the situation worse, because how terrible am I if where others are leading [...]
"Is there anything lonelier and more depressing than watching Roseanne late at night when you can’t sleep?" —This terrible truth was buried in the back of Jonathan van Meter's recent Julia Louis-Dreyfus profile and I thought its horrible honesty deserved better than to be hidden under a bushel.
Heads up: This story is out there. Hover over the link to familiarize yourself with the URL in case you come across it in the ether, but DO NOT CLICK unless you are in a safe space for crying and will not see anyone for about an hour beyond that, just in case you have a couple of emotional aftershocks.
Good news! One of the saddest stories of the week has a marginally less sad ending. Sweet Christ.
"A snacker had to deal with a rather unexpected moment of emotion as the removal of a wrapper revealed a chocolate bar engraved with a sad face…. Reports are unclear as to whether the chocolate bar was allowed to see another day, although the odds appear to be in their favour as the thought of unnecessary calories, as well as the prospect of committing a brutal attack on such an innocent little face would be enough to put anyone off from tucking in." Is there ever a photo.
Some 20,000 polar bears are left on Earth, their only planet, and most of them live in the Canadian Arctic. While the bears have been distracted by the melting away of polar ice and their entire habitat, humans at a meeting in Thailand have decided that's it's okay to continue killing the endangered animals to sell their parts on the international market for bits of endangered animals—bearskin rugs and claws and "other body parts."
The United States delegation proposed not hunting the polar bear to extinction. Although the ban had the backing of Russia, which also has a declining polar bear population in its arctic zone, the Convention [...]
In The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon makes the point that depression sufferers see the world, their own circumstances and failings, more accurately than healthy people—positing thus that perhaps optimism is the defining characteristic of the human condition.
I think of this often with regards to my relationship with television. Television is like depression. Without it, I can think America isn’t so bad. With it, I sometimes want to kill myself.
Honda's "Pretty Great" ad, made by Santa Monica-based Rubin Postaer and Associates, appears on its surface to be a simple, direct pander to millennials—a typical commoditization of hipness and dissent. Yet its very attempt to mask with cloying optimism [...]
I admire the depth of Christine Smallwood’s impressive research into bed-wetting therapies ['Are You Sleeping?,' Forum, August]. One treatment she neglected to mention, however, was the method my mother used: she brought me in from playing outdoors, stood me before my bed, forced my head down, and rubbed my face in the soiled sheet. I’ll bet her 'cure' was not an uncommon practice back in the 1940s. And while I did later have occasional incontinence issues on the playground, I never again wet the bed. Success — except for the sad memories.
Noreen Ayres Henryville, Pa."
"New research suggest an aesthetic experience that reflects a person’s mood can help calm emotional turmoil. Thus, sad music or books may help someone get through heartbreak." That is good news, because if you're feeling down, this will probably do the trick.
"But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family." —Things have not worked out so well for the Seal Team 6 assassin who took out Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted global terror mastermind Bond villain. Update: Someone should have told him about the VA hospital though.
"Want to stop those cravings for chocolate or junk food? A new study finds that one way to combat that self-destructive behavior is to have someone make you feel sad."
If you are not familiar with this part of New Jersey I cannot quite convey to you the level of sadness involved in masturbating along Route 10. But oh my God it is SO MUCH SADNESS. It hurts just to think about.
You know what's old? You, the works of art and culture that were once such important signifiers of who you thought you were and what story you wanted to tell the world about yourself, all the promise and potential that portended so many possible futures for your life, the heartbreaking realization that where you are now is about as good as it's going to get and the sneaking suspicion that everyone around you knows how you mask the pathetic realities of your failure to meet even the most attainable goals you once set for yourself but they are too polite to say anything because it's all just too awkward to [...]
"He has braved the Nevada desert for Burning Man, been trampled by a bull in Pamplona, lived it up at Mardi Gras and partied just steps from Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in Miami." —God, everything out there today is just so depressing.
"Listening to someone else sing about his or her sadness is a vicarious experience, so the sadness we feel isn't as threatening to our well-being. We can just sit back and enjoy someone else's heartbreak." —This is an explanation for why sad songs make us happy, but it is also a metaphor for life.
"US Doctor Who fans are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday's finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error. BBC Worldwide said 'a small number' of fans had been sent pre-ordered DVDs three weeks early. It asked those with the DVD not to reveal plot details which would ruin the 'viewing pleasure' of others. It promised footage of current Doctor Matt Smith with predecessor David Tennant 'if everyone keeps the secret'."