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

Performing Under Pressure: Martian Style

What do you want to be wearing in a high pressure moment? It's a lot cheaper than a 16 million dollar NASA space suit.

Reinvent You: The Third Manifesto.

Just about everyone is trying to change their life. Reinventing yourself is becoming essential. The world wants minds and lives to be changed. Reinvention is as necessary as breathing, clean water, and staying healthy.

Emotional Capital

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on September 30, 2015 Hot Thought
Emotional capital is the set of resources that enable people to use emotions effectively in their lives. It includes self-esteem, self-regulation, emotional energy, attachment, resilience, agreeableness, and optimism.

How Are Human Traits Linked to Specific Brain Connections?

By Christopher Bergland on September 30, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Researchers at Oxford University have identified that positive and negative human traits are linked to specific brain connections.

7 Ways to Deal With Negative Thoughts

With practice, you can replace negative thinking patterns with thoughts that actually help you. And that can make a huge difference in your day-to-day happiness.

Getting a Leg Up on Optimism

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on September 24, 2015 The Dolphin Divide
How positive associations enable learning. None of us can learn without relationships. It turns out that variety and fun provide the spice that keeps both going strong.

Are Early Childhood Memories Random and Disconnected?

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on September 23, 2015 Dawn of Memories
Finding patterns in an individual's early recollections

Optimism and Anxiety Change the Structure of Your Brain

By Christopher Bergland on September 23, 2015 The Athlete's Way
Neuroscientists have identified that adults who have a larger orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) tend to be more optimistic and less anxious.

Life is Good The Book

By The Book Brigade on September 17, 2015 The Author Speaks
Of course life isn’t perfect. But that’s no reason to shun the power of optimism. Changing one simple phrase—saying “get to” instead of “have to”—can help shift your mindset.

How to Become a Successful Failure

Failure lurks everywhere. Nearly half of all new businesses fail within four years. About three-quarters of students who apply to top colleges aren’t accepted. More than 90% of people who resolve to lose weight fail to do so. No matter how carefully we calculate our odds and make our decisions, failure is one of the constants in life.

The Sports Ethic

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on September 11, 2015 A Sideways View
What are the unique beliefs and values of those in competitive sport?

Why Are Optimists Smiling? Are They Blind to Reality?

Understanding a Person's Outlook on Life Through Early Recollections

The Psychology of Dual Enrollment: The K14 Model

Dual enrollment offers a pathway that enables high school students to concurrently enroll in college courses and earn credits toward high school diploma and a college degree. This is a breakthrough strategy and a must read in order to have the full perspective!

Consumption Run Amok

Consumerism run amok. Rethinking the Road to Happiness

4 Ways to Clear Your Mind

We all have toxins in our minds. Here are ways to clear them out.

Summer Camp and Disruptive Moments

By Steve Baskin on July 26, 2015 S'mores and More
Former summer campers often describe their experiences as "life changing", despite the fact that they spend far less time at camp than home or school. This article discusses one reason that camps have a disproportionate impact on the children they serve.

A Debate: Is Our World Getting Better?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 17, 2015 How To Do Life
Looking at the big picture can help us approach our lives more wisely.

A Debate: Should You Be Optimistic About Work?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 15, 2015 How To Do Life
Looking at the big picture can help you make better career decisions.

Fraudulent Draft Day Fantasies

The lights of the NHL shine bright on draft night and they can easily blind optimal motivation. Sometimes dreams can be so vivid and so emotionally sustaining they leave an individual neglecting to attend to important initiatives and hurdles during the journey.

3 Reasons We Need to Feel Awe (and Where You Might Find It)

Whether it comes from looking up at the night sky or wrapping your mind around quantum theory, awe has the power to change your life—and maybe make the world a better place.

4 Reasons We Should All Give Up Cynicism

Cynicism feels protective. A little cynicism, however, goes a long way. Too much mistrust and cynics find themselves losing more than they gain. If you default to cynicism in your thinking and interactions, make an effort to tap into your more optimistic side.

What Disney Pixar's New Film Teaches Us About Emotions

What if we were able to stay in a permanent state of joy and elation? While this may initially seem appealing, even difficult emotions, like sorrow, disgust and fear can be beneficial. Disney Pixar's new "emotion" picture, Inside Out, teaches some valuable lessons on embracing all sides of our emotions.

3 Ways Pessimism About Future Possibilities Fuels Depression

A new study reports that having a pessimistic attitude about "possible futures" isn't simply the result of depression. Pessimism about possible futures may be a leading cause of depression.

A Cynical Attitude Could Cost You

A new study reveals that cynical people earn less money. Three statements can help you determine your level of cynicism.

7 Characteristics of Emotionally Strong People

Emotionally strong people are better able to manage the stresses and distresses of daily life, and recover more quickly from challenges and crises when they arise. But since emotional strength refers to a person’s internal coping abilities—how good are we at judging a person’s internal fortitude based on what we see on the outside?

Happiness versus Success

Over the decades - as both a psychiatrist practicing in Silicon Valley and a civilian living here locally - I have witnessed so much success and yet so little happiness. In our valley of material riches and natural beauty, the two are regrettably too often in opposition.

Behaviours for Winners

Winning behaviours to help you get what you want and want what you get.

If You Could Change Your Past, Would You?

Perhaps then, what we should ask ourselves is not “If you could change your past, would you?” but “You can change your future. Will you?”

Embracing Death

We all know Death, the Detroit rock band that was "punk before punk was punk." But Death is something else: It’s a living, breathing monument to how one can live, create, cope with adversity, and thrive if one does not fear dying.