The power of optimism

by Jeff Hilimire on March 13, 2013

If you get a chance, and you want to be a more positive person (and I know you do), take a look at this article by Emily Esfahani Smith in The Atlantic, “The Benefits of Optimism Are Real”.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

Negativity, for adaptive reasons, puts you in defense mode, narrows your field of vision, and shuts you off to new possibilities since they’re seen as risks.

Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience — how quickly people recover from adversity — but it is the most important predictor of it.

…people who find meaning in adversity are ultimately healthier in the long run than those who do not.

…resilient people are not Pollyannas*, deluding themselves with positivity. They just let go of the negativity, worry less, and shift their attention to the positive more quickly.

* I had to look up Pollynannas, it’s a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter that is now considered a classic of children’s literature, with the title character’s name becoming a popular term for someone with the same optimistic outlook.

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