Sunday, July 24 , 2016, 8:08 am | Fog/Mist 60º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 

Susan Ann Darley: Are You an Optimist or Pessimist?

Who are you? Susie Sunshine or Daddy Downer?

When the chips are down, we have a tendency to lean one way or the other. Our personality, based on our mental and emotional makeup, usually determines which side we fall on. Studies have shown how either side can affect our overall health — for better or worse.

Researchers Michael Scheier and Charles Carver in 1985 tested the effect of a personality variable on a person’s physical biology. After their study was published, scientists began using their method for countless studies on mind-body interactions.

They developed an optimism scale, which was easy to use and score. It was a hit with the scientific community and has been used in research which examines the relationship of optimism and well-being.

Optimists often have lower levels of anxiety and general distress when faced with difficult life circumstances. Their positive energy and outlook on life have been known to “decrease the likelihood of rehospitalization following surgery and the risk of developing heart disease,” Scheier says.

The determining factor as to which side you fall on can be decided by your coping strategies. Optimists usually engage in behaviors that help protect against disease and promote recovery.

Optimists are less likely to have negative habits such as smoking, drinking and eating poorly. They usually exercise, sleep well and recover quickly from illness.

Pessimists tend to dwell on negative feelings. Plus, they’re more likely to be into avoidance and denial when confronted with problems.

There are two character traits that help optimists be more than the simple “happy-go-lucky” creatures they often appear to be. They are problem solvers who try to improve the situation they find themselves in. Secondly, if they find it can’t be altered, they willingly accept it and move on.

If you fall in the pessimist column, cheer up. You don’t have to stay there. Life is fluid, so choose a different boat to sail on. The quote “Change your mind, change your life” is not just another clever saying. It’s a valid one.

And whether we lean toward optimism or pessimism, most of us jump from one side to the other at times. So when you find yourself caught in a web of negativity, try a few of the strategies below to detangle:

» Forgive yourself and others.

» Make a gratitude list.

» Observe your thoughts — keep them peaceful.

» Extract the good from every experience.

» Tap into your core values.

» Help someone, be of service, volunteer.

» Walk a dog. Animals and exercise help raise your serotonin level — the feel-good hormone.

These are just a few ways to land on the sunny side of the street. My all-time favorite is be authentic and do what you love.

Do you have any idea how much negativity falls away when you’re true to yourself? Goodbye victim mentality. Hello honest communication expressed without guilt.

There’s only one unique you — latch on to the positive and make it a sweet life.

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach and writer of marketing material for businesses, entrepreneurs and artists. Click here for more information, or contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.845.3036. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >