Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How a Rosy Outlook Can Help Your Health

In 2008, the University of California, San Francisco had one of the most exciting neuropsychological research breakthroughs in happiness science yet: the importance of optimism for the health of our brains.

It turns out that our brain has a center for optimism, and if that center is not developed we get depressed. That’s probably why there aren’t too many happy pessimists running around out there, huh?

Believing in gloom and doom does not make you happy, and that simple fact proves that sustainable happiness is not rocket science. It’s just a matter of focus, of donning a pair of rose colored glasses and choosing to look at life from a different perspective.

I live in San Francisco, and sometimes my sunny outlook is dampened by the foggy haze that cloaks the city I call home. When that happens and I feel my mood start to turn gloomy, I remind myself that above the fog, above the clouds, the sun is always shining. I have to rise above my present situation and make an effort to find the sunshine, but when I do, it makes life brilliant again.

When you feel like your optimism has run out and there is nothing but doom and gloom around you, get your head in the clouds and remember that there is always something trying to brighten your day. You have a choice about how you interpret your reality.  You can choose to know that the sun is shining no matter what and shift your thinking from being pessimistic to optimistic.

You have nothing to lose by having an optimistic outlook – except a frown. Just try sporting some rose colored glasses for a week, and see if you get happier. All the scientific research says you will.

If you need help to become optimistic and decrease depression, visit my Self-Help Store.

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Dr. Aymee Coget, a widely-known happiness expert, has more than 15 years of experience in positive psychology. Through the Happiness Makeover™, a program developed by Coget, she teaches people how to achieve happiness and handle life's challenges. She also serves as CEO and founder of the American Happiness Association, a science-backed nonprofit designed to educate individuals and organizations about how to be happier, and was nominated for CNN Hero of the Year in 2011.

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