Optimism: The Great Healer


So what is optimism? How often have we heard, look on the bright side? I think that optimism is widely misunderstood. It does not involve a Pollyanna attitude of always feeling upbeat and cheerful. Optimism is not characterized by a constant state of happiness. And optimism is not characterized by the total absence of sadness. It is a far more complicated state of mind.

I believe there are several components to optimism:

* The ability to be able to creatively solve problems. No one gets through life with challenges. It is unrealistic to think in terms of negating sadness in our lives. One who has the optimism habit knows how to navigate the difficult times and come out on top.

* The presence of hope: I have just recently passed through a situation which seemed hopeless. After investigating several alternate plans, I finally have come to a solution. Depression is defined as hopelessness. With optimism, hope prevails.

* Networking and forming friendships: None of us is an island. We cannot possibly solve all our issues alone. Contact with friends is vital. Studies have been done that confirm the longevity aspect of living in community. Twenty three years ago, the famous nun study was begun. it included 678 nuns. About four dozen of them are still living. Nuns who signed up for the study agreed to donate their brains at death. The results have been phenomenal. Each nun was asked to submit an essay when she entered the order. Those who wrote about negative emotions died earlier and had a much higher rate of Alzheimer’s than those who wrote about positive emotions.

There we have it. The positive outlook and positive emotions that accompany optimism create greater mental capacity and longevity.

For more information on the nun study, go to http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/nunstudy/

From Barbara Altman, author, presenter, and motivational speaker. For speaking engagements, feel free to contact me at AltmanB@sbcglobal.net or at 314-962-5324.

If you know of someone who wants to build a happy, success filled life or if someone you know is suffering from major depression, showing signs of depression, is manic depressive, or is looking for how to deal with depression please subscribe to Barb’s blog. She has advice on such topics as, coping with depression, teen depression, anxiety and depression, depression in children,  and other types of depression disorders. You can visit her website at http://www.depressiontorecovery.com/





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