I want to point to recent articles relevant to an issue most of us mull about: "Is my glass half empty or half full?" Jane Brody describes a number of studies linking greater optimism to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other chronic ailments and to fostering “exceptional" longevity, defined as living to 85 and beyond. And Susan Shain does a self-help piece, citing numerous studies on how to be more optimistic. Finally, Parker-Pope, in the NYTimes Well section summarizes her recipe:
Spend time with optimistic people. Optimism, like pessimism, can be infectious.
Reframe negative situations. When something bad happens, ask yourself if there is a potential upside. A setback at work can be an opportunity to rethink your goals. By mindfully looking for a positive, we retrain our brains, and optimism will come more naturally.
Minimize your exposure to negative news. Don’t bury your head in the sand, but when bad news hits, educate yourself and then turn it off. We don’t need to expose ourselves to a 24-7 bad news cycle just because it’s there.
Start a gratitude practice. Try writing a nightly journal documenting three good things from your day. Or start meals with a family conversation about how you dealt with a daily challenge.
Try meditation. A daily meditation practice is a great way to ease your mind and shift yourself into more positive thoughts.
Adopt a mantra. When times get tough, fall back on a mantra that can put you in the right frame of mind. “I’ve got this!” or “Accept what you can’t change” can help you get through tough times.