Optimists have a tendency to make lemonade out of lemons, and to then see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. It's an admirable quality, one that can positively affect mental and physical health. Some optimists consistently ascribe benevolent motives to others and interpret situations in the best possible light; others simply disassociate their internal mood from external circumstances, no matter how sticky. Adding in a bit of complexity, the latest research shows that tempering a sunny disposition with a small dose of realism or even pessimism might be the best way to build resilience and achieve one's goals.

Recent posts on Optimism

Why Is It Hard to Live for the Moment

By Eyal Winter Ph.D. on September 19, 2016 in Feeling Smart
Can our evolutionary disposition to overly focus on the past and the future be tricked into giving the present more space?

Want to Be Young and Healthy Forever?

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 13, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Here's the science that will help!
CCO Public Domain/Free for Commerical Use

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Why can’t I lose weight? Optimism is key to taking off the pounds. By Julie Jarrett Marcuse, Ph.D.

How Optimism Can Affect Our Financial Decisions Adversely

Research shows optimists prefer risky investments, gamble to win & postpone saving money. But we can be optimistic and make good financial decisions at the same time.

Aging Well

Why should we bother about our old age?

The Problem With Positive Thinking

By Joel Minden, PhD on August 25, 2016 in CBT and Me
Does positive thinking lead to greater happiness? If only it were that simple. When negative thinking gets you down, here’s what to do instead.

12 Predictions for 2050

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in How To Do Life
Some reasons to want to be around at mid-century.

Why It Can Be So Hard to Stay Happy

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in Out of the Ooze
Can being too content actually be bad for you?

A Simple Exercise to Boost Optimism (And Improve Health)

This visualization exercise is easy (and fun) to do and research shows it can have big payoffs.
jomo at Bigstock.com

My Role Model For Coping With Adversity

By Susan Noonan MD on August 10, 2016 in View From the Mist
I turn to an amazing person for guidance when difficult things happen.
Thomas L. Webb

The Road to Hell

By Thomas Webb Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in The Road to Hell
Why don't you cycle to work? (and why people struggle to achieve other goals)

Inside the Mind of the Olympic Gold Medal Winner

Some involved in this research pointed out, amazingly, that their gold medal performance was not, in their view, the most outstanding moment in their career.

The Cost of Cynicism

President Obama has challenged us “to reject cynicism and to reject fear, and to summon what is best in us…” It may be the biggest choice we ever make.

Should You Be More Grateful or Less?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 02, 2016 in How To Do Life
An internal debate on the meaning of life.

From Bedouin Nomad to Billionaire

Chasing the American dream: Lessons from a desert nomad turned billionaire!

4 Reasons Why an Optimistic Outlook Is Good for Your Health

Better knowledge, healthier actions, more effective coping methods, and greater social support are ways that being optimistic improves your life.

Things That Matter to an Amputee

Have you ever wondered what it is like to have a limb amputated? The first challenge is accepting a new image followed by a psychological acceptance of yourself as adequate.

Do We Become Less Optimistic As We Grow Older?

Research shows that optimism declines with age, but not for older Americans.

Do You Get Just What You Deserve?

How to sweet-talk yourself into getting what you need and want.

Coincidences and the Non-Moving Violation

Want to create more coincidences? Avoid the non-moving violation.

From 5K to Marathon

Want to run a marathon one day? I bet you can. Here’s how.

Big Projects, Big Mood Swings

Learn why we bounce between optimism and pessimism while working on large projects. And discover 6 ways to deal with these mood swings.

A 2-Minute Exercise for Feeling Happier Where You Live

A simple exercise in positive thinking can change how you feel about your city.

The Power of Imagery

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on June 25, 2016 in Think Well
While the power of positive thinking is great, the power of positive imagery is often greater. Here are two of the most effective visualization techniques.

Offering Patients Hope While Still Telling the Truth

How do we manage patient expectations while still offering hope? A retrospective perspective can help.
domeckopol / Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

What Would a Happiness Potion Do for You?

A wizard wants to grant you happiness but he's not sure what it is. Can we discover what happiness is by figuring out what positive psychology - the science of happiness - studies?

Are You Sure You Want to Read This?

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 16, 2016 in Consumed
An uncertain world requires simple decision-making processes.

"What's Wrong With the World?" Finding Hope After Hate

By Brad Waters on June 14, 2016 in Design Your Path
In the wake of violence, the youth of Orlando show us resilience and hope.

5 Reasons Why You Think Your Partner Is Hotter Than They Are

By Autumn Whitefield-Madrano on June 09, 2016 in Face Value
Positive illusions mean your sweetie isn't actually as stunning as you think—but there are good reasons why your brain is deceiving you.

Self-Referential is Being Internally Self Referenced

A life that is self-referential is one that is flexible, fluid, and creative.