Monday, August 11, 2008

It's good to think about the future — to a reasonable degree

Some people are intensely focused on the future, while others focus on the here-and-now. In fact, time orientation is an important determinant of health and success — and a crucial factor in relationships:

"Mismatches" between people who view time differently are common in marriages, Zimbardo says. When future-oriented spouses clash with mates who live mostly for fun in the present, "you hear 'He's irresponsible' and 'She's a slave-driver,' " he says. Trouble can erupt over how to spend money, free time or vacations and how to raise kids.

But anything taken to the extreme is often unhealthy, and more and more hyper-driven types — such as superparents — are learning to focus more on enjoying togetherness now:

These parents, most of whom are in their 30s and early 40s, want quality family time now. "They're not as driven as their parents were career-wise, and there's more emphasis on family togetherness. They want their kids to have a good future, but there's less insanity about it," Chung says.

On the other hand, if you're a worrier — or even just a "ruminator" — you can console yourself knowing that overthinking may protect against dementia.

It's hard to imagine being overly stressed at a place like this. (Click to see a larger version.)

—Mellow Monk

Go to the Mellow Monk tea page
Subscribe to the blog feed (RSS)