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

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.

Feeling Grateful and 'Paying it Forward'

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to the "find, remind, and bind" theory of gratitude first proposed by psychologist Sara B. Algoe, gratitude plays a role in cementing the social bonds we have with other people. A new research study published in the journal Emotion suggests that grateful are more likely to copy body movements of those who help them which can help cement new relationships.

12 Keystone Principles That Bolster Resilience

These 12 keystone principles will increase your resilience and help you stay brave in the face of adversity.

Why Stress Rules Our Lives

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Why today's adults feel more stress than did their predecessors -- and the lessons that we might learn from the past to better cope with our life stresses.

Worrying

By Joann P. Galst Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in Fertility Factor
Uncertainty is one of the certainties of life. While difficult to cope with, there are ways to help yourself as you traverse your path to parenthood.

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!

Bullying: A Case Study Revisited

They delighted in their own cleverness, and in their ability to get many uninvolved bystanders to sing a chorus as they waited in the food line. In other words, the humiliation of one girl became a popular bonding experience, and ad-libbing new lyrics was a way to get positive peer attention.

How to Shift Unwholesome Thoughts

We can develop new skills at any age, especially with mindfulness training. Here are three techniques to help you shift painful afflictive thoughts & feelings.

Mindfulness: The Power of “Thinking About Your Thinking”

Taking just five minutes a day to “think about your thinking" can dramatically improve your life.

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 Gifts of Depression

By Tom Wootton on April 07, 2015 in Bipolar Advantage
Manic-depression left a decisive scar across generations of my family. For each of us who bears that mark, moods have conferred advantage, as well as disability. I don’t mean the energy of hypomania. That’s a fun enough ride, while it lasts. But it’s nothing compared to the unexpected and enriching gifts of depression, like patience, humility, insight, and empathy.

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

By Hendrie Weisinger on April 03, 2015 in Thicken Your Skin
If you're going to bet on The Final Four, you best read this first!

The Attractiveness of Personality Traits

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in A Sideways View
Some traits are more attractive than others. But there are downsides to all extreme scorers. Is there a downside to being a sociable extravert or a highly agreeable person?

The Fastest Way to Get Over It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Ambigamy
Grief, mourning, grudges—necessary but man, can they suck away the years and we don't get that many years anyway you cut it. Here are a few fast-acting poems that can keep the sucking to a minimum.

6 Traits of Successful People

Embracing and enacting these six traits will lead you along the same path to success as the notable individuals throughout history.

It's Time to Take the "Positive" Out of Positive Psychology

By Amie M. Gordon PhD on March 30, 2015 in Between You and Me
What is the prescription for optimal living? The burgeoning field of positive psychology appears to have many of the answers: We should be kind to others, forgiving of transgressions, gracious and compassionate in our daily lives, and optimistic about the future. Following this simple plan should keep us happy and healthy. It turns out the answer might not be so simple.

Positive Thinking: A Brief User's Guide

By Jeff DeGraff Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Innovation You
The challenge is a seeming paradox: generate positivity and then control that same positivity. The art of smart optimism is a careful balancing act, a measure of enthusiasm and restraint--a flash of a dream with a dose of reality.

Leaving our Legacies Mindfully

By Thelma Duffey Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Works in Progress
We have choice to make when it comes to leaving an impact on others. It is important to live life and invest in those who care about you, while keeping in mind the legacy we want to leave.

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II

A case study illustrating comorbidity and distinctions between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Tweeting As Therapy

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 27, 2015 in Ambigamy
A lot of therapy focuses on "what's wrong with you?" but eventually graduates to what's up with us?," an embrace of the human condition in all its details. One way to play with "what's up with us?" is to take notes like a social scientist. Observe, reflect, jot share.

Did Copilot Andreas Lubitz Conceal His Illness?

Many patients with severe, melancholic depression dissimulate and pretend that everything is fine so that family and caregivers will not block their suicidal plans. This danger of dissimulation in severe depression is something that psychiatrists have always known about.

Surprise

By The Book Brigade on March 26, 2015 in The Author Speaks
Surprise is good for the brain, great for relationships, and adds a certain frisson all around. Without it, life is lackluster. So why don't more people embrace the unexpected? They run from it or try to subdue it when they should instead roll with it.

Pressure: Meet The Villain

By Hendrie Weisinger on March 23, 2015 in Thicken Your Skin
Pressure downgrades your "cognitive success tools," compromises your ethics, makes you a damaging parent, and can destroy your marriage. You'd be wise to learn how to manage pressure.

The 3Y Secret to Greater Contentment

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in In Control
Once people come to understand themselves and their important motivations more clearly, they can evaluate for themselves whether the road they are currently on is likely to take them in the direction they wish to travel.

6 Ways to Infuse Therapy with a Sense of Hope

Bringing a genuine sense of hope and optimism into the therapy process is paramount in our alliance with clients. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which clinicians can infuse the therapy process with the notion that there is truly a light at the end of the tunnel—and it’s not an oncoming train!

It Takes Patience to Know Bad Luck From Good Luck

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Joy and Pain
Experience can teach us to wait a while before we judge the full effects of what appears to be either bad or good fortune.