When life is going “good” for you, what do you find yourself saying internally? “When life is going good, I’m just waiting for something bad to happen.” Or maybe “when life is going good, I try to enjoy it while I can.” How about when life is going “bad?” Do you think to yourself, “When life is going bad I just want to give up because I feel like I can never get ahead” or “When life is going bad I know I just have to keep pushing through because it’s just got to get better?”
How you answer these questions may have a lot of influence on many areas of your health and well-being. Typically your answers will fit into a pessimistic view or an optimistic view. Mayo Clinic states, “The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits.” (find article here)
I used to not have the most optimistic outlook on life, especially when I was making my way through college. I felt like nothing was going my way. I was constantly stressed out from dealing with one thing or another. The thought that frequented my mind was, “Can’t I just catch a break?!”
Once I started graduate school, I started trying to challenge myself with what I was learning. One major change I made was my outlook on life. I started trying to look at life as something that will always test me and challenge me. Now, when life is going good I try to give myself credit for handling what life has thrown at me and tried to get me down with. This has really helped boost my confidence and help me feel like I have a bit of a handle on my life. When life is going bad, I try to view it as more of a challenge that I need to figure out and give myself some slack for. I evaluate how I’m handling things and take note of where I could benefit from some improvement. Once I find those weak spots, I talk with trusted friends, coworkers, or find a book that will help me strengthen those skills.
How nice to think that just by improving my thinking I am getting one step closer to healthy living. Not only will I possibly increase my life span, but I’ll have a greater resistance to the common cold, reduce my risk of death from cardiovascular disease, lower my rate of depression and distress, and develop better coping skills during times that are hard and stressful. Eating healthy and exercising is important,but don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for trying to be moreoptimistic throughout your day too!