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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Don't Worry, Be Happy

A group at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh has provided further evidence that a positive emotional style is good for health. In this study positive emotions such as happy, pleased and relaxed protected against upper respiratory symptoms resulting from infection with rhinoviruses.

Sort of makes sense that happy people might have less in the way of symptoms or would not complain if they did. However, this study demonstrated there were indeed less symptoms of a cold, and things that make sense still need to be proven.

Dispositional optimists are people who naturally believe more good things than bad will happen to them. When success appears to be highly likely, then energy and time will be devoted to pursuit of the goal.

In her book "Breaking Murphy's Law", psychology professor Suzanne Segerstrom discusses how exercising personal strengths, making progress towards goals and achieving success bring immense pleasure. She outlines a positive feedback loop to develop optimism.
  • Break free from the inertia of self-doubt
  • Pay attention to unexpected positives
  • Plan well and work hard
  • Resist the temptation to give up
  • Celebrate small achievements

Then, there is the story of two boys wishing for a pony on their birthday. When each was confronted with a room full of horse manure, one began crying and the other dove in looking for the pony.

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