Tricks for Staying Positive

rainbow over waterrainbow over waterby Abigail Cuffey

Yes, it's true, "optimism can be learned, just like a new skill or hobby," says John Tauer, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. A few fake-it tricks: Try forcing a smile when you're feeling down (being angry or sad when you're smiling is really hard, says Tauer) and saying thanks more often-expressing gratitude helps you see the world in a more positive light. Need more motivation to jump on the "Yes I can!" bandwagon? Consider this:

You won't get sick as often.

People who expect good things to happen have stronger immune systems, according to University of Kentucky research. "When you feel optimistic, immunity-boosting hormones like oxytocin and growth hormones may get activated," says study author Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD. Neeta Ogden, MD, adult and pediatric allergist at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, New Jersey.

Pick up more tricks to avoid getting sick.


You're less likely to have a stroke.

"Optimism is associated with a slower buildup of the plaque in your arteries that can lead to a stroke," says Eric Kim, lead author on the University of Michigan study that found that the more positive people were, the lower their odds of having a stroke.


You'll make better decisions.

"Negative emotions can lead to tunnel vision, whereas people who smile tend to be better at flexible, 'big picture' thinking," says Kareem Johnson, PhD, who led a study on the subject at Temple University. For example, if you're buying a car but worried that your friends won't think it's fancy enough, you might make your choice solely based on how the car looks and not give enough weight to how the car handles or its safety ratings.

Learn how to make smarter choices.


Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.


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