As a mental practitioner who helps people change their mental state from the consciousness of sickness to one of health, I've seen again and again how the removal of fear and fixation on the images of disease positively affects one's well-being.
Are you a pessimist or an optimist? When you've eaten all the whipped cream and upper midsection of your Venti Soy Mocha Frappuccino, is that cup half empty or is it half full of stuff you probably shouldn't be drinking at the start of your day?
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? I subscribe to the answer my colleague Sally Fisher formulated: "Both!" Life is both full and empty. When we are only in the empty part, we are suffering; when we are only in the full part, we are in denial.
Did pessimism about the future influence people to abandon the hope of saving for retirement, or did a lack of savings lead to the pessimism? One clue may be in the fact that people over 55 are even more gloomy about the future of the economy than the general population.
To be successful, you need to understand the very vital difference between believing you will succeed, and believing you will succeed easily. It's the difference between being a realistic optimist and an unrealistic optimist.
This is time of year when we automatically wish people a "Happy New Year." But if we start to seriously think about what might happen in 2010, we may fall into despair -- unless of course we are optimists.