Dr. Ana talks about healthy optimism and how to cultivate it in her latest video.

Optimism can be learned, it involves developing the ability to view the world from a positive point of view. It is contrasted with learned helplessness.

3 components of optimism

  1. Permanence: is this bad thing forever?
    • pessimist: this will never end
    • optimist: this is temporary, it will pass
  2. Pervasiveness: is this problem global?
    • pessimist: this is the worst, my life is over
    • optimist: not everything is bad, finds silver lining
  3. Personalization: is this problem personal?
    • pessimist: it's all me, I'll never be good enough
    • optimist: this isn't my fault, I can't control everything

Why optimism is good

There are many benefits to optimism.

  • lower heart problems
  • live longer
  • more motivated and successful
  • more effective at decision making
  • higher rates of well being and lower rates of depression

The opposite of optimism is depression, the cognitive triad of depression is negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and the future.

Depression causes pessimistic thinking, and you feel like this is just how the world is. You feel like you can't change anything, and you're stuck in a cycle of negative thinking. This is depression talking, it's not reality.

How to be more optimistic

THe ABCDE technique.

  • A: Adversity (the stressful situation)
    • Being diagnosed with a chronic illness.
  • B: Belief (what you think about it)
    • "This illness will ruin my life. I won't be able to do things I love."
  • C: Consequence (what happens as a result of your belief)
    • Feeling hopeless and depressed
    • withdrawing from social activities
    • rejecting treatment and support
  • D: Dispute (challenge your pessimism)
    • Recognize that the illness is a challenge, not an end to everything enjoyable.
    • Understand that many people live fulfilling lives despite chronic illnesses.
    • Reflect on past challenges overcome successfully.
    • Replace the belief with "This illness is a part of my life, but it doesn't define me."
  • E: Energization (how it energizes you)
    • Feeling empowered to explore treatment options.
    • Engaging in activities adapted to new limitations.
    • Seeking support from healthcare professionals, friends, and support groups.
    • Focusing on what can be done rather than limitations.

Toxic positivity

Toxic positivity is denying or ignoring negative aspect sof life.

Healthy optimism acknowledges the negative, but chooses to focus on the potential positive and opportunities for growth.