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How to be optimistic

In these turbulent times, it may be a struggle to maintain a glass half full view of life. A research just released by a New York based company indicated that most humans came out of 2016 feeling pretty discouraged. It indeed was a tough year for some of us however, a lot of those surveyed said they expect their own lives to improve in 2017. If you are among this majority, it may serve you well. A growing body of research indicates that optimism — a sense everything will be OK — is linked to a reduced risk of developing mental or physical health issues as well as to an increased chance of a longer life. One of the largest such studies was led by researchers Dr. Kaitlin Hagan and Dr. Eric Kim at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

When you’ve been wronged, feelings of anger and a sense of injustice can run deep — and can be hard to shake. Even if you know that forgiving could help, doing it sometimes seems impossible. But the truth is, forgiveness has helped many people to move on from similar situations. So, it’s worth considering. To be clear, forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting the past. It is also not about letting someone off the hook for the consequences of their actions. Whether you forgive or not does not have to change your efforts to seek justice through the legal system, if that’s relevant to your situation. Instead, forgiveness is about freeing yourself from your struggles and finding peace.

Forgiveness is a Choice. Uncovering negative feelings: The first step in forgiveness is to honestly examine (as objectively as possible) the true nature of the offense and who is responsible, the direct consequences of the offense, and the various ramifications of the offense. It can take a lot of work to acknowledge and process feelings, such as anger, betrayal, hurt, fear, or guilt. Other issues you may need to consider are how the offense has affected your life, your sense of safety in the world, and your perception of justice.

One of the largest such studies was led by researchers Dr. Kaitlin Hagan and Dr. Eric Kim at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Their team analyzed data from 70,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, and found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death over an eight—year period, compared with women who were less optimistic. The most optimistic women had a 16% lower risk of dying from cancer; 38% lower risk of dying from heart disease; 39% lower risk of dying from stroke; 38% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease; and 52% lower risk of dying from infection. Yes, you can acquire optimism. Even if you consider yourself pessimist, there’s hope. Dr. Hagan notes that a few simple changes can help people improve your outlook on life. Previous studies have shown that optimism can be instilled by something as simple as “having people think about the best possible outcomes in various areas of their |ives,”she says. The following may help you see the world through rosier glasses:

  1. Accentuate the positive. Keep a journal. In each entry, underline the good things that have happened, as well as things you’ve enjoyed and concentrate on them. Consider how they came about and what you can do to keep them coming.
  2. Eliminate the negative. If you find yourself ruminating on things or events , actively stop yourself.
  3. Uncovering negative feelings: The first step in forgiveness is to honestly examine your own feelings and letting go of things you cannot control.
  4. Be easier on yourself. Self-compassion is a characteristic shared by most optimists. You can be kind to yourself by taking good care of your body, eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Take stock of your assets and concentrate on them. Finally, try to forgive yourself for past transgressions (real or imagined) and move on.
  5. Learn mindfulness. Adopting the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment can go a long way in helping you deal with unpleasant events. If you need help, many health centers now offer mindfulness training. There are also a multitude of books and videos to guide you. Related Information: Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness,… m Share Print . Print Related Posts: Health benefits of hiking: Raise your heart rate and your… Being part of a walking group yields wide—ranging health… How simply moving can benefit your mental health The latest ways to relieve the burden of decision—making others take responsibility , that is delegate . It can take a lot of work to acknowledge and process feelings, such as anger, betrayal, hurt, fear, or guilt. Other issues you may need to consider are how the offense has affected your life, your sense of safety in the world, and your perception of justice.
  6. Deciding to forgive: This decision will probably only come after you realize that your current reactions are hurting you and that you want to stop the pain. Then you must be open to the idea that forgiveness offers a way out of that pain. So, you need to ask yourself, “Am I ready to begin the path of forgiveness?” Working toward understanding the offending person: You can start changing how you feel by learning to see the person who hurt you differently. The more you can understand their experience, the more you will see that person as a person — not just as bad or mean. This can be extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. The more awful the act, the more likely that the offender was driven by pain or emotional distress. Understanding and relating to that experience is itself painful, so many people retreat to simply seeing the offender having malicious intentions, or even as a monster.

In addition, working toward forgiveness means that you need to fully face your own experience of how the offending act has harmed you. This takes great courage, emotional strength, and commitment. Discovery and release: Once you can truly understand the offending person as a human being with human flaws, then you will experience empathy and even compassion. You may also find meaning and purpose in having unjustly suffered. For instance, some women who were victims of domestic violence have found meaning in being advocates for others in such circumstances. importantly, in this phase, you will realize you are not alone in unjustly suffering, and you will find that forgiveness gives you a sense of freedom.

In the end all I ask you is to think, constant rumination, is it providing u with any positive energy? Or that if you put the matter aside and think that you cannot control your past, what you can control is your present and your future. Improve your current by putting all the negativity aside and start seeing your glass half full. Your future depends on your current choices, so why not make a choice keeping bad experiences aside , yet learn a lesson to not make the same mistake again. Just keep in mind that the word ” impossible” can be broken down to ” IM Possible” and start a new day. Let bygone be bygone, it’s all under the bridge. Tomorrow is a new day and make the most of tonight. As this time will never come again, so take life in a positive way. All the best for your future endeavors.

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1 Comment

  • Zubair Bakhtiar

    Excellent Blog! As excellent as you are as a Psychiatrist!

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