You can learn to see the positive

Research shows that optimism is beneficial to health and productivity: optimists tend to have better cardiovascular health and a stronger immune system. They also earn a higher income and have more successful relationships.

Individuals’ optimism or pessimism may depend to a certain degree on their genetic and environmental origins. But people can develop a more optimistic outlook. How?

Brianna Steinhilber, an editor at NBC News BETTER, provided these tips:

  1. ‘Try on’ a positive lens: try consciously to think happy thoughts.
  2. Take note of the company you keep: negativity is contagious, but so are positive emotions, so add optimists to your circle of friends.
  3. Turn off the news: the news we read and hear is overwhelmingly negative, which can alter your mood, so seek out constructive or solutions journalism to get a more balanced view of the world.
  4. Write a journal for a few minutes each day: cultivate gratitude by writing down what you are thankful for, and increase your self-esteem by noting also your own acts of kindness and accomplishments.
  5. Acknowledge what you can – and cannot – control: when a bad situation arises, think about what you can do to make it better, look for steps you can take to assume control or responsibility and uncover the opportunities in the change (look forward, and try not to ruminate).
  6. Don’t forget to acknowledge the negative: be realistic so the actions you take to remedy a situation deal with the difficulty and keep you focused on a better future.

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