Friday, December 01, 2006

Optimism-How hard can it be?

How many times have you heard someone say, "Hey, cheer up!" or "Turn that frown upside-down!"? Unconsciously we all seem to know that optimism is a virtue and that a negative outlook is something to be concerned about. And did you know that there are actually a host of concrete reasons why this is so?

Medically speaking, anxiety, anger and stress can all do a lot of damage to the body. Too much stress has been shown in research to shorten a person's life span; in the shorter term it can wreak havoc on the skin as well as on the internal systems, including the immune system and other vital organs. Holding negative feelings inside can even throw the digestive functions of your body out of whack, too. So you see that a bad attitude isn't just something to be waved off or taken lightly-it can have a significant impact on your health.

On the other hand, people who consistently exhibit a positive attitude are more likely to stay healthier, look fitter, and recover faster from any illnesses they do undergo. You may have heard stories about cancer patients who, seemingly because they managed to keep up their hope and spirits, somehow survived and beat their disease. There is certainly something about optimism that goes far beyond merely being "upbeat" or "perky"-it's a way of thinking and a way of living that actually improves your overall sense of wellbeing.

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