Optimism and Adaptation

In researching the scientific mind-body literature for my book, Power of the Five Elements, one thing stood out: having adaptive attitudes can have an enormous impact on whether a person maintains their health or develops a serious illness.   Optimism is one of the most important of all the traits identified as essential in staying healthy, something that can be developed even if it not one’s nature.

The optimist puts ‘bad’ events in perspective and do not blame themselves and are realistic about what they can control. They are able to move on and see the world in a positive light. A fascinating study by Seligman of baseball players in the Hall of Fame, found those with a pessimistic attitude (blame themselves, are self-centered and often feel hopeless), had  much greater  overall mortality rate than the optimistic players.

If you see yourself with the traits of a pessimist (see Power of the Five Elements for more details), you can work to develop the following traits of optimists: expect positive outcomes; do not give up in difficult situations; expect to be successful; feel they can fix what is needed to be fixed. Your health depends on it.