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8 Ways To Become An Optimist

U.S. News Health     First Posted: 03/12/2012 7:31 am   Updated: 03/12/2012 11:22 pm

Research suggests that people with a glass-half-full outlook are healthier than their pessimistic peers: They catch fewer colds, cope better with heart disease, and may even live longer.

Yet far too many of us assume that optimism is an inborn trait bestowed on a lucky few. That's a completely wrong assumption, says James Maddux, a professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Can people learn to be optimists? "The answer is an indisputable yes," says Maddux.

He and other experts recommend the following:

Reframe Those "Disasters"
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After, say, surviving a round of layoffs at your office, you may feel panicked about the prospect of losing your job. Maddux suggests letting go of the notion that there's only one job that will make you happy. "You may think that if you lose your job, you may never find another that's as fulfilling, but that's probably not the case," he says.

While you shouldn't deny that your current position might not last forever, it's smart to acknowledge that there will probably be other professional opportunities that could potentially be as challenging and satisfying, he says. Apply this thinking to virtually any setback to bolster your outlook.

More from U.S. News Health:
How Your Personality Affects Your Health
10 Reasons Play Can Make You Healthy, Happy, and More Productive
'Type D' Personality: How Distress Affects Your Health



Flickr photo by D'Arcy Norman
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Filed by Kate Bratskeir  |