Did you know that having a positive outlook on life, not only improves your mood, but can improve your health, extend your life, boost your self-esteem, and benefit your relationships? It’s true. There is growing research on the benefits of optimism and gratitude on physical, psychological, and relational well-being.
You may be thinking, “Well that’s great for you optimists out there, but I’m a realist.” There’s good news for you too! Research is showing that there are ways to practice and develop positive emotions (even in the presence of negative events such as a long-term illness). That means that even if you don’t naturally operate with a “glass is half full” kind of attitude, there are things you can do to create a more optimistic outlook on life and increase your experience of positive emotions.
If this idea that you can actually practice and create a positive attitude regardless of life’s circumstances intrigues you, then you may want to check out this recent article in the New York Times…A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health.
Here are 8 practical skills you can do now to help you experience more positive emotions and cultivate a more optimistic outlook on life:
■ Recognize a positive event each day.
■ Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.
■ Start a daily gratitude journal.
■ List a personal strength and note how you used it.
■ Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
■ Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.
■ Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
■ Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.
(These 8 skills were developed by Judith T. Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. In her research, she encouraged participants to learn at least 3 of these skills and practice at least one of them every day.)
The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else. – Winston Churchill
A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. – Herm Albright