Reconnect with Your Inner Optimist

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Editor's Note: SparkPeople is thrilled to share with you this blog post from the team at, a site whose mission very closely aligns with our own. meQuilibrium helps you dial down  the negative effects of stress by coaching you to take control of your thoughts, emotions and lifestyle habits with a unique online program.
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Stress can derail our best intentions to adopt and maintain healthy habits.  It’s easy to make poor decisions when stress levels rise. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, highly stressed people are 30% less likely to eat a healthier diet and 25% less likely to exercise. People try to alleviate stress in unhealthy ways like overeating and sedentary activities like watching TV.
Just like managing your weight, managing your stress is about becoming aware of your choices—and making better ones. meQuilibriumcan help you dial down the effects of stress by coaching you to better manage your thoughts and emotions.  Our philosophy is this:  You can’t annihilate stress itself, or completely change your circumstances.  But you can change your response to stress.  The concepts you’ll learn, paired with a little practice, will help you do just that. And when you start to shift your stress response, you’ll find that can do lots of things you never thought you could.

In Search of Your Inner Optimist

Optimists sometimes get a bad rap. If you tend to be a sunny-sider, chances are you’ve been criticized for being unrealistic, impractical, a dreamer, maybe even dumb. There’s this tough-guy—and we think, defensive—response to life and its unpredictability, and that response is: Life sucks and then it’s over.

We’ve gotten the (wrong) idea that cynicism and realism go hand-in-hand, and that there’s just no room for optimism, unless we want to embarrass ourselves. Well, we disagree.

The Benefits of Positive Thinking

The Mayo Clinic reports that some of the benefits of positive thinking include:
  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical wellbeing
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Needless to say, pessimists don’t enjoy these same benefits.

What a Real Optimist Is

True optimists don’t walk around in the rain and deny that they’re getting wet. But where the pessimist sees anything from a tough exchange at work or bad traffic as yet another reason why life disappoints, the optimist sees it as an opportunity. She says, “Hmm. I wonder what can be made of, gained from, or learned from this.”

TRY IT: Think differently. When something not so great happens, and you feel your knee-jerk negativity kick in, pause and ask yourself what’s funny, curious, or interesting about the situation you’re in instead.

You Don’t Have to Be Born One

You don’t need a dyed-in-the-wool optimist. You can build your positive thinking ability like a muscle. Of course, you also have to use it.

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for boosting positive thought:
  • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship. Start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress levels.
Are you an optimist? Do you want to become one?

"Optimist" is actually one of the 5 stress personality types in the meQuilibrium program.  Research has shown that there are five ways people respond successfully to stress. Each type has unique strengths and weaknesses—knowing your stress personality can help you appreciate the things you do well and point you toward the skills you need to cultivate. Take advantage of this free gift for SparkPeople members (45 days of access to, including its monthlong stress-relief program) to learn more about yourself.

meQuilibrium is the perfect companion in your efforts to stick to your intentions for a healthy new year!  Are you ready to learn how you can understand and manage your stress with meQuilibrium's interactive coaching system, meQ? Click here for details and your FREE 6-week trial offer, a special gift exclusively for SparkPeople members!  Take advantage of this limited-time offer now. The meQuilibrium 30-day program to decrease stress is the perfect tool to help you stay calm and in balance during the holiday season.


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SUZENNA 12/27/2017
Loved this article, thank you. Report
NEPTUNE1939 12/19/2017
great Report
wow. I signed up for this and what an eye opening experience. Report
Yeah, it makes life better! Report
Think about the thoughts that run through your mind continuously. Are you saying things like "you are so fat, you will never get to your goal" or "I'm sure I will fail again". Start repeating positive phrases thought out the day such as "I live a healthy lifestyle" or "I am an exerciser" or "I eat healthy, nutricious food to supply my body with energy". Say it at least three times (in your head) with a smile on your face and mean it. As someone who came out of a serious years long depression I used "things are getting better every day" and before long, they did. Also, use it. Read about it. Total paradigm shift that changed my life. It soaks up your anxieties like you won't believe!!! Good luck! Report
I'm going to try this offer at least for a while. Report
I need to work on this. I try but have so many health problems.

I'm positive every single day of my life, since this is the only life I'll ever live. Read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now." Report
For me, people frequently comment on how I always have a smile on my face. But it's the dark place I go inside sometimes that I need to work on. Report
I call myself a realistic optimist (or an optimistic realist). I do believe things will get better, but I don't Pollyanna and ignore when things are not good. I smile and can find the tiny silver lining in most situations because I know the clouds are transitory. Report
No matter what happens in my life I do my best to find the good in what has happen. I have always looked at my glass half full. Do not have a lot of patience with people that are always looking for the bad in every thing, do my best to stay away from people like that. I also use a lot of humor to get thru the rough times. Report
going to try Report
Mental,emotional, and spiritual discipline as well as physical discipline - it's a good combination! Report
The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
Sounds wonderful. I look forward to giving it a try. Report
Thank you for the article and offer. Report
I am so excited about this meQuilibrium free trial offer! It sounds exactly right for me as a complement to my food program! I already completed my entire questionnaire and will most likely subscribe to the program at the end of the 6 week trial period. Report
Wish we had more wishful thinking articles like this one. I can use the boost some days.
Changing your thinking really works! Just this morning I woke up at 4:00am from an annoying noise and I couldn't get back to sleep. Finally at 5:00am I got out of bed. My first thought was,"It's going to be one of 'those' days." Then I stopped myself and said, "It doesn't have to be. I choose what kind of day I'm going to have and today is going to be fine." It ended up being a normal day. Where before I would have complained all day and been cranky I didn't and it made for a nicer day for me and everyone I came in contact with. Report
Absolutely ! Optimists see 'opportunity' ! That's something I try to practice daily. Every morning I make a conscious effort to think "it's going to be a GREAT day !" and approach the day with enthusiasm ! It doesn't always work ! Life happens in-between my best intentions ! But I find I handle the 'opportunities' with more grace, patience and humor than I used to ! Great article ! Thankyou! Report
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