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Always look on the bright side

Research shows that taking a positive approach is much better for both you and those around you, especially when there are challenges on the road ahead. Yes, making the decision to have a half-full mindset and believing that “good” will prevail over “bad” has a myriad of personal benefits.

According to the experts, optimists behave differently than pessimists. They’re not simply idealistic Pollyannas, but rather individuals who are motivated by new challenges and opportunities for growth. Not immediately discouraged by setbacks, they tend to take a more positive long-term approach that is hopeful and confident about the future. 

Individuals who scored top marks on one scientist’s “optimist assessment” were found to have stronger immune systems, be more physically active and less likely to have health conditions like diabetes, depression or cardiac conditions. An optimistic attitude can apparently foster inner fortitude, promote success and inspire confidence in oneself and others. And, not surprisingly, studies show optimists live as much as 15 per cent longer.

Gratitude is also associated with optimism. Grateful people are happier, receive more social support, are less stressed, and are less depressed according to the evidence. And, optimists tend to live longer with their optimism giving them a superior “fighting spirit” that promotes faster recovery from illness, as well as substantially less fatigue, lifestyle disruption, and better ongoing quality of life one year later. Optimists also resisted the urge to withdraw from social activities, which may be important for healing (and they had better sleep quality).

Stanford researchers found that optimists have higher quality and longer-lasting romantic relationships as well, even if only one partner is an optimist. Psychologists believe optimism leads to a greater sense of perceived support from a partner, which helps couples fight fair and feel better invested in making the relationship better.  

So, next time things go wrong, don’t go with them. Clear your mind of “can’t” and choose to follow these additional wise words of advice from Sir Winston, “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Editor

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