Optimism and Resilience: How to cultivate it

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share         
Optimism and Resilience: How to cultivate it

Discover scientifically proven techniques for increasing your happiness, optimism and life satisfaction.  Please go to:    http://flourishwithemiliya.com/Test/gen-step1.php

What do you do when bad things happen to you? More importantly, how do you explain
why that bad thing has happened to you? Do you tell yourself that bad thing
happened because you have rotten luck? Or that it's all your fault and you never
get things right?

Research shows that how you explain why the events occur is one of the most
powerful predictor of whether or not you become depressed. This is what separates
resilient people who are able to bounce back on their feet when bad events happen
to them and people who become paralyzed when adversity strikes.

Great news! According to world famous psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman and decades
of scientific research, you can learn to become more optimistic! I'll teach you

Read on:

Firstly, there is a lot more to pessimism than seeing the glass half-empty and a

lot more to optimism than looking on the bright side of things. Optimism and
pessimism are not traits they are ways of thinking.

That's important, I'll repeat it. It is not about what happens to you, it's about
the way that you think!

That means you are not born an optimist or a pessimist, you learn to think like an
optimist or a pessimist. Psychologists fondly refer to this as your explanatory
style (ES); or how you explain the good and bad things that happen to you in your

Dr. Martin Seligman shows that people with a pessimistic explanatory style are
more likely to describe the bad things that happen in their life as being their
fault. If, for example, you ask a depressed child or one with a pessimistic ES,
why he failed the test, his reply might be something like, 'I'm stupid,' 'I suck
at school,' or 'My teacher hates me!' A child with an optimistic ES might say he
failed the test because, 'The test was hard,' or 'I did not study enough'. It is

irrelevant which explanation for the failed test is true. What's important is what
happens after years of building and accumulating thoughts that support either ES.

There is a model for explanatory style. We call it:

Me vs. Not Me
Always vs. Not
Everything vs. Not Everything

People with a pessimistic ES describe negative events as Me, Always and Everything
and positive events as Not Me, Not Always and Not Everything. For example, Jack
asks a Kelly out on a date and she politely declines. Having a pessimistic ES,
Jack thinks to himself, 'No wonder she doesn't want to go out with me, I'm a
loser'. He explains the event as being his fault (Me), and not just limited to
this situation (Everything), saying 'I'm a loser,' refers to many areas of his
life. Taking it further, he might even think, 'I'll never get married' (Always).

If a positive event happens, like getting the job he wants, and someone asks him
why that good thing happen, he might say 'I got lucky.' He certainly wouldn't

forecast more luck in his future. The positive thing isn't attributed to his
qualifications for the position (Not Me). He is referring to luck in this one
particular situation (Not Always) which would be different from someone saying,
'I'm a lucky kind of guy' or predict this luck to trickle into his love life (Not

Someone with an optimistic ES that gets rejected would say something like, 'She is
just not interested (Not Me). Oh well plenty of fish in the sea.' That one
negative event does not pervade their whole life (Not Everything) and just because
this person rejected them doesn't mean everyone will (Not Always). Positive
events, like getting a job are the result of their own actions 'I got the job
because I'm qualified for the position (Me) and I present myself well to others

Test this out in your own life. Think back to the negative events. Why did those
things happen? And the good events? Are you expecting more positive events in your
future? Or you on the look out for all the things that could go wrong?

Remember, we create our own reality based on our thoughts. Most of the time we
don't pay attention to our thoughts and we accept them as unquestionable truth. So
tune in. Challenge your Me, Always, Everything thoughts with the possibility of
Not Me, Not Always, Not Everything thoughts.

Again, this is one of the most powerful techniques for combating depression and
increasing your happiness. Put it into action!

Now can a person have too much optimism? Yes, they can. But that will be the topic
of another article.

Report this article
Occupation: Life Coach/Speaker
Emiliya fuses positive psychology, nutrition, yoga and spirituality, to help individuals and organizations flourish through coaching and seminars. She combines the Eastern philosophies of aikido, yoga and buddhism, with the Western science of optimal health and functioning.

She is a Penn Resilience Program facilitator and has international experience training teachers in positive psychology and resilience programs. She conducts seminars based on positive psychology in the community and Yoga Ed. in the school system. For years, she has studied naturopathic and complimentary alternative medicine and incorporates holistic approaches into her work.

Emiliya is a certified Brain Gym practitioner, which involves using physical movements to achieve optimal brain functioning. Additionally

Emiliya has a near decade of work as a professional entertainer. Her top strengths are gratitude, love of learning, zest and enthusiasm, forgiveness, love and the capacity to be loved.

Emiliya is the founder of Flourish, Inc.and creator of Flourishing Cards which will be available in print in 2009. She is the creator of www.positivepsycharticles.com, a site through which users can browse research in the field of Positive Psychology and add to the database.

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya holds a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania where she is currently a visiting scholar. She is a summa cum laude graduate from Long Island University’s Honors Program where she completed her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and minored in Fine Art, Business and Philosophy.

Emiliya is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Emiliya completed her 200 hour- Vinyasa Yoga teacher's traing at Sonic Yoga, Laughter Yoga Leader certification through the Dr. Kataria's School of Laughter Yoga, and is trained through Yoga Ed. in their grades K-12 program. She is fully insured and a member of Yoga Alliance (YA). Additionally, Emiliya is a Level 1 and 2 Reiki Practitioner trained at the International Center for Reiki Training.

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article