Optimism is much more comfortable than pessimism

 

By Corrie Lynne Player

Oct. 26, 2017

 

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? How you perceive the world will affect whether or not you can be happy, no matter what happens around you.

Research shows that happy people live longer, healthier lives, have more energy, and enjoy better relationships. People who are more positive in the way they approach problems have fewer accidents, drug dependency, divorces, and illnesses. Numerous studies have borne out these facts, but you don’t have to read scientific journals to realize that being happy feels a lot better than being angry, sad, or guilty.

Dr. Ellia Gourgouris, a clinical psychologist, said, Depression, sadness, and unhappiness in general deplete you of energy, like you have this leak in your system … Happiness not only plugs up that leak but begins to build up a reserve.

Happiness is a choice, not something that is bestowed on you. I’ve discovered that the best way to be happy and optimistic is to perform acts of kindness. You will not only feel happy when you do something nice, but you will spread a bit of happiness to those who witness your kindness as well as the recipients of your acts.

I’ve seen so many kindnesses, like the man who noticed that the carton of milk an elderly woman tried to put on her walker kept falling off. He not only picked it up for her, he rearranged the groceries in her basket to solve the problem.  I was behind a handicapped man who was struggling to find enough change to pay for his bread and juice; the person at the end of the line stepped forward and handed the clerk $10, then walked quickly away.

I’ve discovered a couple of sure-fire ways to lift my mood. When I am in a long line at the movies, super market, or etc., I invite the person behind me to go first. That inevitably makes me feel good or even sparks a pleasant conversation much better than shifting from foot to foot and sighing with impatience.

I’ve also told someone about a compliment I overheard and enjoyed the smiles. I, too, smiled when one of his teachers told me that my 14-year-old son had bragged to a group of friends that his mom and dad were his heroes. I remembered that warm feeling the next time that 14 year old sulked in his room or argued with his sister.

In past columns I’ve asked you to share your ideas for spreading happiness. I’ve collected several. One woman sent an email saying that she enjoys slipping a gas card into someone’s shopping bag especially when she can do so without being noticed. Another reader said that she writes a note to the manager of the restaurant or retail store where she’s received good service.

Several of you mentioned your appreciation when your neighbor took your trash to the curb or mowed your lawn. I have a neighbor who has done this for me several times. And I can’t count how many times somebody has plowed my driveway or shoveled my walks.

Kindness can be spontaneous or planned. Just thinking about it can lift your mood and turn a gray day to sunshine. As the days grow shorter and winter begins, let’s all do our best to view our surroundings, especially our loved ones, with rose-colored glasses.