Current Living: Your Life in the NOW!

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Optimism: The Tremendous Benefits of a Positive Attitude

By Anna White

How many times have you heard someone say, “Hey, cheer up!” or “Turn that frown upside-down!”? Unconsciously we all seem to know that optimism is a virtue and that a negative outlook is something to be concerned about. And did you know that there are actually a host of concrete reasons why this is so?

Medically speaking, anxiety, anger and stress can all do a lot of damage to the body. Too much stress has been shown in research to shorten a person’s life span; in the shorter term it can wreak havoc on the skin as well as on the internal systems, including the immune system and other vital organs. Holding negative feelings inside can even throw the digestive functions of your body out of whack, too. So you see that a bad attitude isn’t just something to be waved off or taken lightly — it can have a significant impact on your health.

On the other hand, people who consistently exhibit a positive attitude are more likely to stay healthier, look fitter, and recover faster from any illnesses they do undergo. You may have heard stories about cancer patients who, seemingly because they managed to keep up their hope and spirits, somehow survived and beat their disease. There is certainly something about optimism that goes far beyond merely being “upbeat” or “perky” — it’s a way of thinking and a way of living that actually improves your overall sense of wellbeing.

Unfortunately, many of us are brought up only too familiar with the negative side of things. We live in a world full of upsetting events and everyday stresses. The key is to remind yourself not to let it dictate your emotional state. No matter what is happening around you, if you can develop your positive attitude at the core of your being, you will equip yourself to survive any challenge, any disappointment, any crisis, and any source of upset.

Make a conscious effort to replace your negative thoughts and actions with positive ones. Instead of looking at a task and saying,“ It’s impossible,” just commit to doing it and enjoying the challenge of a job well done. Instead of viewing an illness as “proof” of how hopeless your life is, look at it as your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change, and then work on changing it.

Every hardship, every seemingly impossible thing is actually a brilliant opportunity for you to show just how far you can push yourself to accomplish your goals. Expect some curveballs along the way and accept that they are an inevitable part of life. Whatever comes your way, exude positive energies to those around you, and it will be reflected back to you! •

© 2005 Anna White

About the Author
Anna White is chief-editor and researcher in charge of, a website dedicated to providing you with 100% free self-help information that's practical, cutting edge and immediately useable in your life. 09/03/05

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