Do you see the glass half full or half empty?

March 30, 2020

© Carole Kanchier, PhD

Do You See the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Research shows that, on average, human beings are hardwired to be more optimistic than not.

Optimism is an attitude that can positively affect a person’s mental and physical health. Optimism can also help reduce a person’s stress and increase longevity.

Being optimistic is defined as expecting the best possible outcome from any given situation. It thus reflects a belief that future conditions will work out for the best. For this reason, it is seen as a trait that fosters resilience in the face of stress.

Optimism doesn’t mean engaging in wishful or fantastic thinking. It’s a way of looking at the world that gives more agency to the optimist as being at least partly responsible when life is going well. Optimists have healthier outlooks and tend to live longer than their more pessimistic counterparts; they also are less susceptible to the negative effects of illness, fatigue, and depression. However, an unrealistic belief that a person’s future will be full of only positive events can lead them to take unnecessary risks, particularly with their health and finances.

Optimism is a good trait to develop as we face the varied challenges of the coronaviris pandemic

Research indicates that optimism is vitally important in overcoming defeat, promoting achievement, and improving and maintaining health. Studies show that optimists do much better in school, at work, and on the playing field. They regularly exceed the predictions of aptitude tests, and when they run for office, they are more likely than pessimist to get elected. Their health is very good and they tend to live longer.

How Optimistic Are You?

Answer yes or no.

1. I usually count on good things to happen.

2. It’s easy for me to fall asleep.

3. I’m usually confident I’ll achieve my goals.

4. If something can go wrong for me, it will.

5. I’m always hopeful about my future.

6. I enjoy my friends and family.

7. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best.

8. I don’t usually expect things to go my way.

9. Overall, I anticipate more good things will happen to me than bad.

10. I don’t get upset too easily.

Scoring and Interpretation: Give yourself  2 points for responding yes to items 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9; and 2 points for responding no to items 4 and 8. Add your points. The higher your score, the more optimistic you seem to be.

Tips for Becoming Optimistic

You create your own life script by the thoughts you think, and you have the power to change these. One of the most significant findings in psychology is that individuals can choose the way they think.

Pessimists can learn to be optimists by changing their attitudes and learning a new set of cognitive skills.

So can you!

Practice positive self-talk.  “I like myself because … “  “I can … “ “I will … “  Use positive statements about such things as being healthy, being in control, or being blessed. Write down affirmations. For example, “I can change … “

Don’t criticize or complain. Think of ways to improve the situation. Avoid phrases such as, “I can’t or “I’m too old.”

Read inspirational books and listen to positive message tapes.

Concentrate on your successes. Create a “success” collage by gluing pictures together that illustrate who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Include the goal you want to attain, how you want to look, and the personal and professional image you want to project. Look at it every day.

View problems as challenges. If you lose your job, for example, consider it an opportunity to pursue your dream.

Count your blessings — not your troubles. Put enthusiasm into your work. 

Write down your negative thoughts and feelings. Indicate why you feel this way. For example, when adversity strikes, listen to your explanation. When it’s pessimistic, dispute it. Use evidence, alternatives, implications, and usefulness as guides. Replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Each time you catch yourself using a negative phrase, say, “Cancel, cancel.”

Take your mind off your “problems.” Get involved in activities that let you focus your attention away from the problem. For example, go to movies or concerts, meditate, listen to music or invite friends over for dinner, or engage in physical activities.

Greet others with positive, cheerful statements. Smile. This generates enthusiasm, friendliness and good will. Associate with positive, happy people who will give you support and encouragement as you work toward your goals. Make other people feel important — and do it sincerely.

Look for and expect good things to happen. Success is 15 percent aptitude and 85 percent attitude. Your attitude will determine your success in your new venture. Fill your mind with happiness, positive and constructive thoughts, desired outcomes, and helpful ideas. You’re special and have unique talents. You’re a winner.

Research indicates that optimism is vitally important in overcoming defeat, promoting achievement, and improving and maintaining health. Studies show that optimists do much better in school, at work, and on the playing field. They regularly exceed the predictions of aptitude tests, and when they run for office, they are more likely than pessimist to get elected. Their health is very good and they tend to live longer.

Questers described in award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, discusses numerous other suggestions for strengthening optimism: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Check audible Questers: https://www.audible.com/pd/Questers-Dare-to-Change-Your-Job-and-Life-Audiobook/B07VZNKGJF?asin=B07VZNKGJF&ipRedirectOverride=true&overrideBaseCountry=true&pf_rd_p=34883c04-32e5-4474-a65d-0ba68f4635d3&pf_rd_r=TN801GRP49AWQSSYMDYC1

Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist, coach and author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life.  Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning, and worked with clients representing many disciplines. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.

 
Contact: carole@daretochange.com; carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com


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