Stress blog

Learned optimism — Make your inner dialogue more positive

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. April 3, 2013

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Everyone struggles with disappointments, setbacks and missed opportunities. Why do some people seem able to bounce back and learn from these experiences, while others never rally and live a life of disappointment and frustration?

There is no easy answer, but Martin Seligman, Ph.D., addresses these issue in his book, "Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life." Dr. Seligman is a professor of psychology, a former president of the American Psychological Association, a credentialed, respected professional. He suggests, with ample evidence, that you can learn to see that light at the end of the tunnel. You can learn to see that the glass is half full, and adjust your reaction to the situation.

Although I agree with those who've commented that our past stays with us, that doesn't mean we are prisoners of our past. We can make choices. We can create options to maximize our inner peace and serenity, our health, and our sense of self-worth.

Of course, it would be wonderful if everyone had nurturing, affirming parents or role models, but that's not always the case. But having one person who truly believes in you can make all the difference in the world. Please share your insights. We each struggle with the same issues of affirmation.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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14 Comments Posted

Apr. 03, 2013