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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Are you a member?  No, not of that one by the same name, although the Optimist Club is a worldwide volunteer organization that does a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people.  But my focus today is on how much of an optimist are you in life?  And I sure don't want you to be a member of the "Pessimist Club!"  (They're not a real group now, are they?)  Being an optimist is about doing your best to maintain a positive outlook on life.  But experts say that positive thinking goes far beyond a person just having a perky disposition.

Women who expect good things to happen in their lives have a 30% lower risk for heart disease. 
In fact, according to one university study, women who expect good things to happen in their lives have a 30% lower risk for heart disease.  (Hey, that's reason right there to stay as optimistic about life as you can.)  Expect the best in life!  And not only that, a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that as they age, optimistic people tend to get fewer disabilities and actually live longer than pessimists.  (Ready to start looking at things on the brighter side yet?)
Or dare I ask, do you find yourself to be more pessimistic most of the time?  Oh, no!  But here's the good news.  If you are more of a pessimist, you can still work to change your outlook on life.  For one thing, pessimism is a learned behavior. But that means you can also learn to be optimistic.  It's a skill you can actually teach yourself.  Here's how.
Don't let life's frustrations get the best of you.
Don't let life's frustrations get the best of you.  People who strive to see the positive side of something that went wrong in their lives, instead of complaining about it or blaming themselves for small failures, were happier and more satisfied at the end of the day.  If you didn't get that promotion at work, if you failed an exam at school, whatever the disappointment may have been, focus on what you can learn from it.  That way, you'll have a better chance of preventing the same mistake or "failure" from happening again.
Find some meditation time.  I suggest this to you a lot, and for good reason.  Recent research has discovered that people who meditate daily have more positive emotions than those who don't.  Or just take the time to savor the positive moments in your life.  Admire Mother Nature at work around you.  Enjoy some quality time with your kids.  Celebrate your losing another pound.  (I'll bet that makes you feel positive, huh?)  Savoring those positive moments, no matter how small, helps train your brain to observe more of the good things that happen in your life.
Make a happy list.
And related to that, how's about making a happy list.  Sound silly?  It's not!  At the end of your days, write down a few positive things that happened to you that day.  A study in the Journal of Research in Personality found that writing about positive experiences for just three consecutive days has lasting effects on your mood.
So, chase those pessimistic thoughts out of your head.  Unlearn all that negative stuff.  Because I want you to become a member, just like me, of...The Optimist Club!