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Holisticonline.com

How to Be Healthier, Live Longer, and Enjoy It More
Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology

One of the most important things you can do for your health and success is to learn optimism. High scores in optimism are predictive of a longer, healthier life, and excellence in everything from sports to life-insurance sales.

HOW OPTIMISTIC ARE YOU IN YOUR THINKING?

Take this quiz:

1. If someone says youíre in great shape for your age, which would you reply:

a. Iím just lucky.

b. Thank you, I work at it.

2. If someone asked you how your weekend at your in-laws was, which would you reply:

a. Terrible, all except for the great dinner we had.

b. I had a good time despite a few minor incidents.

3. Are you:

a. Determined to be perfect in all you are, say and do and expect of others

b. Willing and able to set realistic goals and standards

4. When you forget to take the trash out and realize it on the way to work, do you:

a. Ruin the rest of you day by blowing it all out of proportion

b. Instantly forgive yourself, devise a way to remember next time, and donít let it ruin the rest of your day

STUDIES INDICATE THAT OPTIMISTS ARE:

∑ Healthier and live longer

∑ Resistant to depression

∑ Likely to achieve their potential

∑ Persistent in the face of adversity

∑ Able to get maximum pleasure from success because they think they caused it

PESSIMISM, ON THE OTHER HAND:

∑ Lowers your immunity

∑ Makes you more prone to isolation which is a higher heath risk than smoking

∑ Lowers your EQ

∑ Keeps you from guarding your health or getting medical advice when needed

∑ Causes more bad events in life

Your health at age 60 will be strongly related to your optimism/pessimism at age 25 [Source: Martin Seligman, Ph.D. ]

HOW CAN YOU LEARN OPTIMISM?

EQ coaches specialize in teaching you how to learn this important life skill. It's part of emotional intelligence.

You canít learn it by memorizing mantras or carrying around quotes on a 3x5í. It involves learning new self-talk and practicing it rigorously until it becomes automatic. After all, itís ourselves we listen to all day long!

Incidentally, if you think optimists arenít always in touch with reality, youíre right. Pessimists are more often right, but optimists accomplish more, and live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Itís a tempered optimism, cautions Dr. Seligman Ė one that you choose to use or not.

TIMES TO USE OPTIMISM ARE:

∑ In an achievement situation (sports, when giving a speech)

∑ When trying to curb depression

∑ When dealing with a protracted physical health issue

∑ When trying to lead, inspire, or get elected.

TIMES NOT TO USE OPTIMISM ARE:

∑ When the stakes are very high (i.e., considering having an affair, day trading)

. When counseling someone in dire straits

[The answers to the quiz Ė the optimist would choose the second choice in each instance.]

©Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc. I offer emotional intelligence coaching, distance learning, ebooks, and EQ coach training and certification. Learn from the coach who trains the EQ coaches.

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