Happy New Year!!
• Optimism is healthy! A new study at Penn State has found a link between negative moods and higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers. And 83 other studies “concluded that optimism is associated with benefits in survival, pain management, immune function, cardiovascular function, and physical function.”
• Optimists get stuff done. They’re more likely than pessimists to get off their tush and at least try, even when the “facts” seem against them. They take responsibility.
• Optimists take responsibility. While pessimists may feel grounded in their reality… they often are truly grounded—like a plane that can’t take off. It’s hard to take action, move forward, when the cards are stacked against you. And those cards aren’t really stacked against you—you’re just ever-thinking. Like Wayne Dyer said, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”
• Optimism makes people happy. Optimists are happy people and fun to be around… usually.
• Optimism is confidence.
You want health, productivity, happiness and confidence… right?
Optimists are more likely to roll their sleeves up and “do something”, contrary to the vision pessimists have of them which is (in the words of my step-mother) “like the person who is standing on a hilltop with their mouth wide open, waiting for a roasted chicken to fly in.”
Sure, I’m standing there, mouth open, and sometimes things do fly in… and taste like chicken. Just saying.
So… Why does optimism get such a bad rap?
Well, I think it’s because when things go wrong (as our pessimistic rational mind had predicted, of course) we say “See, I told ya’ so.” And we pat ourselves for being correct…. yet, again. Whereas, when things go right our rational mind says, “Well, of course it went right because…” …because the cause-and-effect that we hadn’t seen before suddenly is so clear. Hence, there is no celebration. Optimism doesn’t tend to be encouraged, given credit, or its fruits celebrated!
And they should be!
• Encourage yourself to be optimistic. It’s good for your health and relationships.
• Give optimism credit when it’s due. What did you do that went against pessimistic thoughts and resulted in a win? When did a “Yes” (instead of “No”) pay off big?
• What were those winnings that came from taking a chance and staying open-minded?
How to practice optimism? It’s simple: Stay positive. Watch your self-talk and interior dialog. Correct it by pointing it towards the positive ideas, rather than the negative. (Simple, but not easy. It takes practice.)
Optimism is positive thinking. All our thinking directs our actions. Positive thinking directs them positively, and negative thinking directs them against our goals and ourselves. If you have the habit of negative thinking, consider taking my class, Cultivate! It starts on January 17.
The point is this: You get to choose. It’s like having your hands on a steering wheel, turning it one way of the other. You don’t have to be locked in to optimism or pessimism… and it’s probably healthiest to be able to bring a little pessimism into your life once in a while.
Think of the person standing on the hill with the mouth open. For the optimist, everything that flies in might taste like chicken. Maybe there’ll be a belly ache once in a while, but there also might be a delicious (real) roasted chicken. The pessimist? Well, the pessimist doesn’t like roasted chicken anyhow.
Whether or not I see you in January, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, maybe even inspiring!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!
It’s going to be great!