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 Are Optimists Smiling? Are They Blind to Reality?

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on August 25, 2015 in Dawn of Memories
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

By Erik Gregory Ph.D. on August 05, 2015 in The Secular Shepherd
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 in 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 in 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 in 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

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on June 04, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
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.

4 Steps to Getting a Relationship Unstuck

By Marty Babits on May 01, 2015 in The Middle Ground
Number One Secret to Getting Communication Unstuck?

Why Loneliness Hurts So Much

Just we feel hunger when we haven't enough food, we feel affection hunger when our needs for connection go unmet. Close relationships aren’t a luxury, but a necessity. The need for social connection is innate, just like the need for food, sleep, and air.

Is it Time to Change our Narrative about Climate Change?

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on April 23, 2015 in More Than Mortal
One thing I have learned from my own research as a social psychologist is that fear is not always a good tool for changing attitudes. But fear is what we often use to get people to care about the environment.

How Brian Williams Can Earn Back Trust

Can Brian Williams earn back trust? Yes, he can if he follows the 4 H's and 4 R's.

The Best Time to Plant a Tree Was 20 Years Ago, No Matter

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on April 14, 2015 in Joy and Pain
Feeling like life has passed you by? No matter how much time you think you've wasted, starting today there still plenty of time to start afresh. Before you know it, you will reflect on your life with satisfaction.

Happinesses

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on April 10, 2015 in One Among Many
I found 26 blog posts on happiness in my blog archive. Here’s a list of them with a brief statement of contents for each. Peace and happiness!

What to Do When Life Is Short

Dual citizenship as a doctor and as a seriously ill patient had taught him that respectful communication is the bedrock of all medicine.

The Zen of Love

What propels a person to leave the beaten path and try something new? We seem to be predetermined by our early experiences, especially when it comes to abuse and neglect. Yet, some people free themselves of their conditioning and leap into something they have never encountered: love. Little do we comprehend when it comes to leaps, but what we know may just be a good start.

The 7 Secrets of a Happy Brain

How do educators help wire the naturally curious and optimistic student's brain? How do they activate the executive functions essential to learning in nurturing and not harsh ways? Unlocking the secrets of the happy brain is the key to happy classrooms.

The Coming Climate Disruptions: Are You Hopeful?

Hope is such a muddled word: “We must have hope!” “There is light at the end of the tunnel!” Why do climate books and speeches have to end on a note of hope? Re-thinking hope in the face of overwhelming climate changes.

Pressure & The Final Four

If you're going to bet on The Final Four, you best read this first!