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3 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Optimist

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3 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Optimist

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com

Optimism; a word associated with sunny smiles and a Pollyanna-ish outlook on life.

But, what does it really mean to be optimistic? And—more important to the stressed-out caregiver—how can you be optimistic in the face of seemingly endless negativity?

Being optimistic does not mean that you have to constantly walk around with a smile plastered onto your face, burying your true feelings and pretending to be happy.

Rick Hanson, Ph. D., caregiver, and author of “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neurosciences of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom,” says that being optimistic means that you see the world accurately, taking in both the good and the bad. And yes, you can train yourself to be more optimistic.

Pessimism, on the other hand, is an unhealthy obsession with the negative, which can snowball until a person feels completely helpless and totally trapped.

Hanson says that it’s unfortunately pretty easy to fall prey to pessimism because the human brain has a built-in survival mechanism—called the negativity bias—that makes us instinctually focus on the bad or threatening aspects of our environment while ignoring the good.

Caregivers can become so overwhelmed by the bad that it can be nearly impossible to see the good. Hanson offers three simple tips for caregivers who want to teach themselves to become more optimistic:

Think, Do, Be Positive!
How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself
11 Ways to Stop Depression

3 Ways to Bring Out Your Inner Optimist originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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Read more: Depression, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Mental Wellness, Stress

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AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

224 comments

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3:20AM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

Thank you :)

8:20AM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Thank you for sharing

10:37AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Dear Folks,

Thank you for your comments! I was delighted to find this article and to share it on Wholebeing Updates ( http://www.wholebeingupdates.wordpress.com ), the website for my wellness counseling/shamanic healing practice. Visit the site for information on many more ways to de-stress, regroup, and regain optimum physical and emotional health and well being.

8:31PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

There are days in any care giver's life that are depressing, and it is hard sometimes to see the positive, there is good info in this article and I am sharing it with my friends.

4:55PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

I consider myself as optimist, but there are days where there is no 'sun' and everything is bleak.
On such a day I can see everything wrong in my life and everything wrong in the world, suffering, lack, torture that people go trough and torture that many animals go trough. Lucky, those days are very rare for me and those bleak moments don't last very long. To me life happen, I am grateful for many good things in my life, I am grateful for many not so good things in my life, because usually those not so good things make me stronger and they teach me something.
Thanks for that interesting post.

2:17PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thanks

2:03PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thanks for the info, I'll try to remember these on bad days, and good! :)

12:15PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

To Marquita - Care2 members also share uplifting, happy, fun videos and stories. We have to mix the two or we would all be a frustrated, angry, sad bunch. If things start getting you down just tune out - go to a happy site where there are adorable animals, children doing and saying cute things...Those sites are there you only need to do a search. It may seem like most of us are here 24/7, but I doubt anyone follows only the ugly side of life and politics all the time. We all have our coping techniques - for some it's yoga...for me it's looking at the fun side of life.

10:09AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thanks for these excellent suggestions! I quoted you on my page, Wholebeing Wellness Updates (http://www.wholebeingupdates.wordpress.com

8:48AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

It is hard to stay positive in this negative world. Just look at all the petitions that we that are members of Care2 are asked to sign and we don't even seem to make a dent. Although, when I receive updates that a petition has worked and there has been success helps make the day a positive one.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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