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Let's discuss the Pessimism about Optimism  (Optimism wins!!)




 Radio Discussion of Optimism in Life and Love--Listen Together and Enjoy the Dialogue

Tali Sharot from University College of London posed a concern that an attachment to optimistic points-of-view about the possible disasters of life occurring may cause individuals to remain ill-prepared for complications they may face in the future.  

Point One:  So is optimism bad for your health?

No.  What is bad for your health is failing to be aware of how to prevent potential or possible complications such as environmental toxics, inevitability of death and its precursors, mismanagement of good fortune (we breed what we sow is true at least 30% of the time, for instance). Another danger is to fail to take advantage of the benefits of optimism in the process of  self-management. Even Tali Sharot concluded:

     "Seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty can be a positive thing -- it can lower stress and anxiety, and be good for our health and wellbeing," she said.

"But it can also mean that we are less likely to take precautionary action, such as practicing safe sex or saving up for retirement."

Read more:

Discussion Point Two
Optimism is among the premier attitudes that supports individuals when they have disease, pending operations, recovery from invasive procedures, difficult financial circumstances, bereavement, depressing or stressful life circumstances, rough bouts in their marriages or while raising children.  

   A.  Relatively new field of Neuroimmunology is revealing that psychologist stress interfaces with other complications likely to aggravate ill-health.     "Combined chemical, physical, and psychological stresses are suggested as exacerbating the initiation and/or duration of illnesses, and many of the detrimental outcomes on health are posited to relate to changes in neuroendocrine immune circuitry."  From Friedman and Lawrence published in the Oxford Journal:

  B. Optimists clearly demonstrate statistically better responses to negative situations which reduce the adversity and longevity of the adversity significantly.

          Quote:  Optimism has been shown to mitigate the effects of stressors
on psychological functioning. Dispositional optimists (who hold
generalized positive outcome expectancies) have shown less
mood disturbance in response to a number of different stressors,
including adaptation to college (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992;
Scheier & Carver, 1992), breast cancer biopsy (Stanton &
Snider, 1993), and breast cancer surgery (Carver et al., 1993).
These findings may be attributed to optimists' belief that discrepancies between their goals and their current attainment will
be resolved, minimizing defeat-related moods such as shame,
depression, and anger (Carver & Scheier, 1985).
Optimism has also been associated with better physical
health. Dispositional optimists reported better physical health
(Scheier & Carver, 1992), showed fewer signs of infarct during
coronary artery bypass surgery  ( CABG), and reported better
quality of life after surgery (Fitzgerald, Tennen, Affleck, & Pransky, 1993; Scheier et al., 1989). F. Cohen et al.  (1989) found
that dispositional optimists had more T lymphocyte immune
cells than pessimists in response to stressors lasting less than 1
week, though the opposite was true in response to stressors
lasting more than 1 week. Situational optimism about health
outcomes with respect to HIV has been associated with slower
immune decline (Kemeny, Reed, Taylor, Visscher, & Fahey,
1998), later symptom onset (Reed, Kemeny, Taylor, & Visscher,
in press), and longer survival time in AIDS (Reed, Kemeny,
Taylor, Wang, & Visscher, 1994). 
                              Optimism Is Associated With Mood, Coping, and Immune Change
in Response to Stress
Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Shelley E. Taylor, Margaret E. Kemeny, and John L. Fahey
University of California, Los Angeles
 C.  Optimists typically look toward functional solutions to complications:  Believing there is a solution usually leads to a solution or a decrease in the problem. 
      In contrasts,  pessimists  are more likely to avoid solutions (avoidance coping) because they are sure there are none to be had.  As a consequence, they must endure the problem, passive rely on others or feel helpless and hopeless.
      Those who become too depressed to even enact a solution usually become more depressed and more pessimistic. Pessimism feeds on a person like a parasite.  Optimism breeds optimistic, energetic, progressive solutions in contrast, 

      Social Problem Solving and Positive Psychological Functioning: Looking at the Positive Side of Problem Solving
—Edward C. Chang, Christina A. Downey, and Jenni L. Salata   Chapter 6 in the book "Social Problem Solving"
D.  Optimism can be divided into many categories.  In the following study Dispositional Optimism was compared with situational or event-based optimism.  Dispositional Optimism means that generally a person anticipates that the better or best possible outcome is more likely to occur in their life than the negative.  Situational Optimists believe positive outcomes are likely to occur in a particular event-set.  
E.  Is Optimism built into our DNA.  Three studies suggest that Dispositional Optimism is manifested in DNA.  
     Dr. Shelley Taylor from UCLA and her team found a DNA code that noted that the Oxytocin Uptake genetic code was better in those people who were Optimistic.  This discovery was revealed September 13, 2011 from UCLA.
Another  finding in 2009 suggests that having a long one of these types of genes makes you more optimistic and if you have a "short" one of these genes you will be more neurotic (anxious and worriedly looking at the pessimistic side of life).  Here is a quote from an article discussing this finding.  Click on it and you will find the link.  
      Science will reveal more over time.  One items to remember however is we are unsure if we can change our DNA by our experiences, environment imput (positive or toxic), traumas (physical, natural and emotional such as abuse) or training (learning to think and feel optimistically).  
Accordingly, pessimism may be a habituated response like being addicted to cigarettes or alcohol.  In addition, pessimism may be conditioned with repeated trauma or reoccurring tough "luck." On the other hand, optimism may be trainable through therapy, medition, spiritual practices, hypnotherapy, changing environmental influences or hardcore, old-fashioned, will-power and self-discipline.  We may actually be able to change our DNA and its code structures (at the most) or our DNA's outward manifestation or expressions (at the least).  Here is an interview I did with an advocate for this position, Kathi Kennedi.  
F. This is an amazing study that compared mothers of children who were either diagnosed as autistic, schizophrenic or had down syndrome.  Bottom line, they discovered that mothers who were dispositionally optimistic had better relationship with their children, had better health and so did their children.  There was even a connection between calmer expressions of the child's disorders and dispositional optimism
Here is the Link:   
Jan Steven Greenberg, PhD and Marsha Mailick Seltzer, PhD
University of Wisconsin—Madison
Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, PhD
Brandeis University
Rita Jing-Ann Chou, PhD and Jinkuk Hong, PhD

Discussion Point Three

 You can influence the hormones or neurotransmitters that bathe your brain by meditation, laughter, crying for joy, crying for relief, sexual thoughts, pleasant memories or positive conversations.  Thusly, you can change your mood in a matter of moments from being ineffectually and passively depressed or paralyzed by anxiety, into an individual who can mobilize your self to function, problem-solve, etc.  

Discussion Point Four

A. Optimism does not mean lacking in savvy nor in disregarding the dangerous moments that need to be prepared for or need to be responded to quickly.   
B. That would better be described as Avoidance Coping which is more common with 1) Pessimists and  2) highly stressed (as measured by stress hormones and self-report) and 3) those who view themselves as helpless to change a situation.  

Discussion Point Five:  How to CREATE "FUNCTIONAL OPTIMISM"  (my phrase)

A.  Exercise, sleeping well, excellent nutrition and hydration
B.  Laugh daily at yourself, situations, funny video segments (YOUTUBE is a life-saver for those moments)
C.  Help someone other than yourself:  Random Acts of Kindness fuel the brain with optimistic neurotransmitters.
D.  Unload, shout, cry, rant, kick-box, pound--- when you are really "filled" with the yuke intensities of life.  But do it in an arena that is private, safe;  where no one is harmed, including yourself.  Then after you let-it-all-out, laugh at yourself for being so temporarily "crazy."
E.   Be touched and touch.   Hugs, kisses, massages, petting pets, sex (especially with a loved one), snugging or cuddling can ease many people's sour moments.
F.  Meditation, prayer, pauses to regroup, Zen-ning the moment definitely changes things. 
G.  Believe in solution and then look for the solutions or the problem-solving professionals available to you. 
Here are some videos which might pump your optimism up.