Is It Best to Expect The Worst?

An important part of optimizing and maintaining your good health is to work on having a positive attitude. What happens if you're one of those people who hope for the best but always expect the worst thing to happen? Does that negative outlook really soften the blow if the worst comes to pass?

Researchers put those assumptions to the test by surveying 80 students about their outlook -- good or bad -- on life. Afterward, they were given computer-based puzzles to complete, then asked how well they would perform on a second set of problems.

Not surprisingly, those who expected to do badly, and did, felt far worse than those with a better attitude who thought they would succeed but didn't. Moreover, those who took the negative view also tried to deflect any responsibility of their poor performance, not believing the results were a reflection of their overall capabilities.

For some of you, choosing to be happy is very easy to say but hard to practice in the real world. Nevertheless, the benefits to your health -- both mental and physical -- are very real, but it will take much effort by some of you to get there.

If you're struggling with a negative attitude, one of the best and most effective natural treatments at your disposal -- the Emotional Freedom Technique -- has nothing to do with a one-pill-cure.

For the record, overdoing it on the positive side doesn't make you bulletproof either. Being overly positive, and brushing off multiple failures, let's say at the office, can be a blind spot that can also hurt your life and career.

Nature February 3, 2006

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