Choose optimism

As a columnist, I receive many e-mails from authors, public relations agents, and people with ideas to promote.
Usually, I take a quick look and delete them.
But there is one author who always has interesting ideas. In fact, I had to sign up for Dr. Andrew Weil’s daily gems of wisdom and he doesn’t need any promotional help from me.
One of last week’s tips was entitled “Five ways to be less pessimistic.”
Now I don’t usually think of myself as pessimistic, but the most optimistic person in the world must have some moments of worry, anxiety, and mild despair. Especially in the 21st century.
Actually, when I saw Dr. Weil’s e-mail, I said to myself, “I can think of five ways to be MORE pessimistic.”
Climate change, faltering institutions, job layoffs, the “end” of the middle class. You name it. This is a difficult time to live.
When we add our personal burdens and losses to the larger societal situation, life can become very difficult.
Yes, it’s an easy time to see things from a dark perspective. But does pessimism really help?
Pessimism: Having a lack of hope for the future. Expecting bad things to happen.
What about self-fulfilling prophecy–the theory that sometimes things become real or true because they are predicted or expected? We can’t take that risk.
A much better way to deal with problems is to hope for the best and try to make it happen. That’s optimism.
Optimism: A feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future.
Everyone knows that sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to. Then we have to cope. Although it’s often our first inclination, worrying and being pessimistic never helps.
Dr. Weil reports that pessimism is associated with a higher risk of dying before age 65. And optimism has many health benefits, including a better immune system.
So it pays to strive to be more optimistic.
Dr. Weil’s tips to conquer pessimism are simple and common sense. Take care of your health. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
On his website, Dr. Weil gives healthy diet details.
When life becomes overwhelming, try to express your emotional reactions honestly so you can deal effectively with what’s bothering you.
Then confide in someone–a good friend, a family member, or even your pastor. Talking always helps!
And laugh. Even fake laugh if you have to. Turn up the corners of your mouth and try to laugh out loud. Watch a funny movie or your favorite sit-com.
Laughing and smiling is good for your health. Best of all, it will make you feel better.
Finally, try to see the cup half-full instead of half-empty. The way we view a situation often makes a difference.
So the next time you’re tempted to give in to pessimism, remember Dr. Weil’s advice: take care of your health, express your emotions honestly, talk it out, Laugh, and try to see the glass half-full.
Remember that in each situation, you have a choice.
As often as possible, make your choice optimism.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist.
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