The Great Unmentionable
The ultimate downer—death—gets a bad rap as an anxiety inducer, but reminders of mortality can inspire us to be more peaceful and compassionate, found a University of Missouri review. Memento mori led religious fundamentalists to become less militant and more tolerant. Smokers kicked their nervous habit; others were less likely to get divorced. When a cemetery was in sight, passersby stopped 40 percent more often to help a stranger—a (presumably unconscious) attempt to reaffirm the good in life.