Self check: Are you an optimist?

Three key ways to assess your attitude and determine whether you’re an optimist

Self check: Are you an optimist?

Source: Adapted from Health Smart

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Whatever your outlook, you can learn to be more upbeat — and reap the health benefits.

In his book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Martin Seligman says your internal dialogue — the things you tell yourself in any given situation — will determine how positive or negative you tend to be.

He identifies three things to keep in mind when things go wrong:

1. Permanence
Is it likely to go on forever, or is it temporary?
An optimist tends to acknowledge that some good things are ongoing, while many bad events can be transient.

2. Pervasiveness
When something happens, is it universal or specific? During a stressful event, pessimists may think, "This always happens," while optimists are more likely to recognize that it doesn’t represent their entire life; it may be just a bad day.

3. Personalization

How responsible do you feel during a stressful event? Pessimists tend to blame themselves, while optimists might look at the circumstances of the situation.
This doesn’t mean that optimists never accept responsibility for their actions, but they are more likely to say, "It was bad luck," or "I made a mistake. I’ll do better next time."

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