Far from the aloof practitioner of new-age feel-good solutions, viewing dilemmas as opportunities rather than life-crushing problems—in a word, being optimistic—has real benefits. Both your physical and psychological well-being will get a boost from optimistic thinking. “Positive emotions can…undo the effects of a stressful negative experience.” In an experiment that measured participants’ biological metrics while undergoing a challenging and stressful task (publicly delivering a hastily prepared speech), “the researchers found that the most resilient people were also more positive in day-to-day life.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The ways in which we deal with stress has become a popular topic of study for psychologists. Surprisingly, many of the things we thought helped us cope with stress, such as venting our frustrations (having a good yell, abusing a pillow, etc.) are counterproductive. “Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience—how quickly people recover from adversity—but it is the most important predictor of it. … Actually, doing nothing at all in response to anger was more effective than expressing the anger in these destructive ways.”
Embedded in a cell phone or in accessories such as rings, bracelets or watches, the novel tools aim to make it easier to manage hypertension. But they must still pass several tests before hitting the clinic.