Researchers found that watching a tragedy movie caused people to think about their own close relationships, which in turn boosted their life happiness. The result was that what seems like a negative experience — watching a sad story — made people happier by bringing attention to some positive aspects in their own lives.
“Tragic stories often focus on themes of eternal love, and this leads viewers to think about their loved ones and count their blessings,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, lead author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.
The key is the extent to which viewers thought about their own relationships as a result of watching the movie. The more they thought about their loved ones, the greater the increase in their happiness. Viewers who had self-centered thoughts concerning the movie — such as “My life isn’t as bad as the characters in this movie” — did not see an increase in their happiness. -Science Daily
When we’re threatened we defend ourselves — and our systems. Before 9/11, for instance, President George W. Bush was sinking in the polls. But as soon as the planes hit the World Trade Center, the president’s approval ratings soared. So did support for Congress and the police. During Hurricane Katrina, America witnessed FEMA’s spectacular failure to rescue the hurricane’s victims. Yet many people blamed those victims for their fate rather than admitting the agency flunked and supporting ideas for fixing it. In times of crisis… we want to believe the system works. -Science Daily
“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”- Daniel Handler, A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
He was the man who ate his shoes, and had been for twenty-three years, ever since he returned to England in 1822 after his first, failed overland expedition across northern Canada to find the North-West Passage. He remembered the sniggers and jokes upon his return. Franklin had eaten his shoes — and he’d eaten worse on that botched three-year journey, including tripe-de-roche, a disgusting gruel made from lichen scraped from rocks. Two years out and starving, he and his men — Franklin had dazedly divided his troop into three groups and left the other two bands to survive or die on their own — had boiled the uppers on their boots and shoes to survive. Sir John — he was just John then, he was knighted for incompetency after a later overland voyage and botched polar expedition by sea — had spent days in 1821 chewing on nothing more than scraps of untanned leather. His men had eaten their buffalo sleeping robes. Then some of them had moved on to other things. But he had never eaten another man. -Dan Simmons, The Terror: A Novel
“Murder is a bit of an extreme way to say ‘It’s over.’” -Joleene Naylor, 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire
Castor was halfway across the paddy, part of the long line of farm workers, when he stepped on the dead man’s head. -Frederik Pohl, Black Star Rising
It was the day my grandmother exploded. -Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road
I have a bust of Abraham Lincoln in my office, and it’s not because of the greatness he did for our country, but it’s because that whenever I look at it I have to remember an actor killed him. —Richard Donner, director of the Lethal Weapon films as quoted in The Rude Warrior by By Peter Biskind
A big part of coping with life is having a flexible reaction to the ups and downs. Now, a study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people choose to respond differently depending on how intense an emotion is. When confronted with high-intensity negative emotions, they tend to choose to turn their attention away, but with something lower-intensity, they tend to think it over and neutralize the feeling that way. -Science Daily
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