How might optimism work to make people less vulnerable and pessimism to make people more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease? The possibilities divide into three large categories:
1. Optimists take action and have healthier lifestyles. Optimists believe that their actions matter, whereas pessimists believe they are helpless and nothing they do will matter. Optimists try, while pessimists lapse into passive helplessness. Optimists therefore act on medical advice readily, as George Vaillant found when the surgeon general’s report on smoking and health came out in 1964; it was the optimists who gave up smoking, [viii] not the pessimists. Optimists may take better care of themselves. Even more generally, people with high life satisfaction (which correlates highly with optimism) are much more likely to diet, not to smoke, and to exercise regularly than people with lower life satisfaction. According to one study, happy people also sleep better than unhappy people [ix].
2. Social support. The more friends and the more love in your life, the less illness. George Vaillant found that people who have one person whom they would be comfortable calling at three in the morning [x] to tell their troubles were healthier. John Cacioppo found that lonely people are markedly less healthy than sociable people. [xi] In an experiment, participants read a script over the phone to strangers—reading in either a depressed voice or a cheerful voice. The strangers hang up on the pessimist sooner than on the optimist.
3. Biological mechanisms. There are a variety of plausible biological paths. One is the immune system. Judy Rodin (whom I mentioned in the opening of the book), Leslie Kamen, Charles Dwyer, and I collaborated together in 1991 and took blood from elderly optimists and pessimists and tested the immune response. The blood of optimists had a feistier response to threat [xii] —more infection-fighting white blood cells called T lymphocytes produced—than the pessimists. We ruled out depression… read more at www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu. Authentic Happiness is the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Web MD- Choose to Be Happy—– Strategies for Happiness
Author Jon Haidt- author of “The Happiness Hypothesis”, teaches positive psychology. He actually assigns his students to make themselves happier during the semester. Information adapted by The Happiness Hangout staff. Research has shown that your talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: Its Nature and Nurture, says that “trying to be happier is like trying to be taller.” We each have a “happiness set point,” he argues, and move away from it only slightly.And yet, psychologists who study happiness — including Lykken — believe we can pursue happiness. We can do this by thwarting negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. And we can foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude.
Note: Your mind can control about 48% of your happiness while the other 52% is genetics.
Academic and other sites providing information on positive psychology, happiness and well-being- Academic research- lots to do- check it out!
http://www.squidoo.com/manifesting-abundance– What do you think about science and manifesting abundance
http://www.cgu.edu/pages/4571.asp -Interested in positive psychology- check out this link
Laughter lowers stress hormones (even the expectation of laughter can do this) and elevates feel-good beta-endorphins. For this reason, find something that reliably makes you laugh, and keep it handy.