Is Your Attitude Making You Sick?

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Some people see the glass as half empty or half full. When something bad happens, pessimists tend to blame themselves. They can go on and on about the event and before they know it, the “negativity” transfers to other areas of the their lives.

Optimists are total opposites. They will not blame themselves and expect minor consequences for a short period of time. Whatever “bad” thing happened, it will not affect other parts of their lives. They will “bounce” back and take steps to move forward from the experience.

Being a pessimist or optimist can affect your health. Christopher Peterson, Ph.D, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says “pessimists end up being sick more days in any given month than their more optimistic counterparts.” Pessimists go to the doctor more frequently than optimists because their IgA levels decrease which makes them more susceptible to catching colds and the flu!

Pessimist Checklist

  1. Listen to doom and gloom speak of family, friends, and the media.
  2. Blame themselves for everything that is wrong in their lives.
  3. Dwell on past and present mistakes.
  4. Constantly focus on everything that is wrong in their life.
  5. Moody.
  6. Focus on things that are out of your control.

Optimist Checklist

  1. Focuses on the present.
  2. Recovers from setbacks in a quick manner.
  3. Sees the glass as half full.
  4. Does not dwell on mistakes; learns from them and moves forward with their life.
  5. Visualize themselves as being a success.
  6. Vent to family and friends; do not hold onto feelings of anger or sadness.

The above checklists are just some examples of being a pessimist or optimist. If you’re not sure which one you are, you may want to ask your family and friends. You’ll be able to tell by the look on their faces!

If you tend to lean towards pessimism try a few of these techniques:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Control what you can and let go of the rest.
  3. Give yourself a “pat” on the back when you experience success.
  4. Smile everyday.
  5. Stop hanging out with the “Debbie or Doug Downers.” You can find other friends. If these people are family members, limit your time that you spend with them.

It’s time to take control of your life. Each year, many people make New Year’s resolutions that last until the beginning of February. Make the decision to change your attitude today because your health may depend on it tomorrow!