Create a happier and richer life with…optimism

Create a happier and richer life with…optimism

A big part of ALL our programs and offerings here at The Happiness Institute is instruction in optimistic thinking; that is, real optimism, not just positive thinking. 

The difference between real optimism and "pop" positive thinking is that one is grounded in reality and the other isn't always; the former, therefore, leads to real happiness and resilience while the latter often leads to disappointment and frustration. 

So, it is with great pleasure then that I happily share with you this interesting perspective on happiness and living a "richer life" with optimism from the NY Times…

by Jane Brody

The definition of an optimist:

Someone, like me, who plans to get more done than time permits.

Having failed to achieve the impossible, someone, like me, who is sure everything will somehow get done anyway.

A more classical definition from the Mayo Clinic: “Optimism is the belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are temporary setbacks to be overcome.”

In one study, adults shown to be pessimists based on psychological tests had higher death rates over a 30-year period than those who were shown optimistic. No doubt, the optimists were healthier because they were more inclined to take good care of themselves.

Unlike Voltaire’s Candide, I’ve yet to be stripped of my optimism, though there are clearly forces in this country and the world that could subdue even the most ardent optimist.

I am a realist, after all, and I do fret over things I may be able to do little or nothing about directly: economic injustice; wars and the repeated failure to learn from history; our gun-crazy society; the overreliance on tests to spur academic achievement; and attempts to strip women of their reproductive rights.

But I’ve found that life is a lot more pleasant when one looks at the bright side, seeing the glass half full and assuming that reason will eventually prevail.

Not Just About Being Positive

Murphy’s Law — “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” — is the antithesis of optimism. In a book called “Breaking Murphy’s Law,” Suzanne C. Segerstrom, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, explained that optimism is not about being positive so much as it is about being motivated and persistent.

Dr. Segerstrom and other researchers have found that rather than giving up and walking away from difficult situations, optimists attack problems head-on. They plan a course of action, getting advice from others and staying focused on solutions. Whenever my husband, a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist, said, “It can’t be done,” I would seek a different approach and try harder — although I occasionally had to admit he was right…

…keep reading the full and original article HERE