We’re all of us a little cynical, to a lesser or greater extent. A touch of cynicism is no bad thing, it helps us to do things like avoiding scams by recognising when something may be too good to be true. This is just one example of how cynicism helps us. But, like most things, too much simply isn’t good for you.
A study of more than 97,000 women found that optimistic women had lower rates of coronary heart disease, cancer-related deaths, and mortality over the study period, while women with more pessimistic and cynical personalities had higher rates of these diseases. (When they entered the study, which lasted eight years, none of the participants had cancer or cardiovascular disease.) While a causal link cannot be made for sure, when you look at cynicism as something which can potentially damage your health, it makes it all the more important to not let yourself become too jaded.
So how much cynicism is too much? Well, that will depend on the person, but if you find yourself looking at the bad side of things on a regular basis, that’s not great. These are a few other signs that you might be seeing things through cynical eyes:
- You’re always looking for “the catch” in situations. For example: “Free? There’s no such thing as free. What do they want from me?”
- You think compliments aren’t sincere. (“I look nice today? Yeah right. What do you want…?”)
- You don’t believe in any kind of ‘happily ever after’.
- You find yourself looking at photos on social media and writing them all off as staged, or Photoshopped, or both. (Ok, so some will be, but you get the idea!)
- You’re always prepared for the worst.
Any of this sounding familiar? Maybe you recognise it in a friend. Either way, life is better with a touch of rose-tinted optimism. Perhaps it’s time to start looking for the bright side.