Forget your Stress: Three Cheers for the Happy People
Stress, that wretched beast that plagues us at every turn, might just have a very simple reliever.
Now, the first thing that pops to mind is a peaceful vacation on the beach, perhaps with a massage by a very nice looking individual (male or female, depending on one’s preferences) while sipping on pina coladas and chocolocos (a rather interesting mix of chocolate and rum, found in top vacations spots within North and Central America). Some would think of shopping as a stress reliever, taking out the credit card and buying everything that meets the fancy. Sports, running, singing, and merely punching the life out of a punching bag at the gym all sound like pretty feasible steps taken to alleviate the pressure life places on the person. And most of these methods can become quite expensive, only adding to the stress later on, as one wonders what on earth they were thinking to dish out so much for a few moments of pleasure and peace.
Was it really worth it?
And here we walk into the trap of pessimism. If your response is “No!! Nothing’s worth putting so much strain on my wallet and my brain after the fact”, you have walked down the negative road. If throughout the day, your response to most things takes on a negative spin, then you might be your own problem. And boy, what a problem it is...
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association has tracked 135 participants over the age of 60, considering older participants would be privy to many more age-related stressors, for over 6 years, and has come to a simple conclusion. Optimists live with less stress than pessimists. The study found that while stress levels were quite similar between both groups during day-to-day routines, when life threw obstacles that caused higher than normal stress in the individuals, the optimists seem to have a special buffer that allowed them to regulate their physiological and psychological responses, while pessimists suffered greatly. Not the most complicated way to keep stress levels low, right?
What constitutes optimism? Optimists are often teased, being told they live in a world of pink clouds and unicorns. This is not true, however. An optimist, according to one very humble opinion, is a person who is able to find the silver lining on every cloud and look at the positive in every negative situation.
It’s too easy to fall into the routine of blaming the world for one’s own problems.
• Take a deep breath. And then another.
• Look up at the heavens and allow the sun to warm you.
• Now, look at the problem again.
• How can you fix it?
• Is your new option somewhat better than what you had originally planned? Often, when looking at anything from this angle, a positive aspect can be found.
• Grab and hold tightly onto that positive slightly shimmering light and focus.
• Once you have focussed on the positive, the negative will lose its menacing hold on you and allow your mind and body to settle back into natural rhythm.
Optimism is often a part of a person’s character, but it’s possible to blend it into your own personality. All it takes is a change in belief. This can be something one wills or something one understands over time. Most people will never understand the simplicity of optimism. It’s quite a shame. Yet, for those who do, life will take on a brighter shade and fewer things will cause stress that can harm you. Three cheers for the happy people!