Spring is upon us! It is time to dust those shelves, clear the winter clutter and open our windows for spring’s fresh air and life to fill our homes. As we prepare our homes for this new season of excitement, growth, and life, how can we also prepare our hearts and minds for this new season?
The up and coming field of positive psychology tells us that optimism is one of the key elements to the emotion of hope, pleasure, humor, excitement, joy, pride and happiness. The founder of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman’s research proves that optimists get sick less often and recover from illness more quickly than others. Optimists often live longer and live lives with better physical and mental health.
But how does one make that shift from pessimism to optimism? Dr Seligman says there are two important dimensions to optimism - permanence and pervasiveness.
Pessimistic people believe that bad happenings are permanent, whereas optimistic people consider them temporary. For example, a pessimist might say to their partner “You always nag”, when an optimistic person would say “You nag when I don’t do my chore”. Using qualifiers for bad events such as “sometimes” and “lately”, rather than “always” or “never” builds optimism.
Pervasiveness has to do with perspective. For pessimists, when one crop of life is spoiled, the whole garden is destroyed. Rather, than catastrophizing, optimists understand that there is a specific explanation for this one bad event. For example, saying “I’m having trouble learning in this math class” rather than “I’m no good at math”.
To learn more about how to clear out your winter blues and move into springtime clarity continue reading this great article by Jane Collingwood called Capture that Springtime Optimism! at Psychcentral.com.