How to the Company of Optimists Can Reduce Your Anger - dummies

How to the Company of Optimists Can Reduce Your Anger

There is a direct link between your attitude about life and your mood. Optimists tend to be more positive and less prone to anger than pessimists. Pessimists are always expecting things not to turn out well and, as a result, they’re more apt to find themselves anxious, worried, and ready to be angry when their negative expectations are met.

Attitudes like optimism are formed early in life. They may even, as some people would argue, reflect inherited dispositions handed down from one generation to the next. They remain fairly stable from cradle to grave.

Attitudes are contagious. If you hang around with people who have a positive outlook on life, you’re more likely to feel the same way. The reverse is true if you hang with a bunch of naysayers who see the worst in everything.

This contagion effect was readily apparent in two groups of chronic-pain clients who participated in a five-week rehabilitation program.

The first group had five participants — four men and a woman. The woman, despite her painful injury and greatly altered lifestyle, began the program with a very optimistic outlook. She laughed, was cheerful throughout the morning, and was eager to involve herself in all aspects of the rehab experience.

The men, on the other hand, were negative from the outset — hostile, reluctant to participate “because it won’t do any good as far as my pain goes,” and argumentative.

Unfortunately, by the end of the five weeks, the female patient had caught the men’s negativity — she no longer laughed, was quiet much of the time, and less energetic in her participation. They had, in effect, won her over to their all-negative way of thinking!

In the second group — three women and a man — the reverse was true. The women were all positive, and the poor negative guy didn’t have a chance — by the third week, he was beginning to smile, laugh, and actually look forward to the classes. He had been converted to a more positive outlook, not just on pain but on life itself.

One requisite to staying in a good mood is to surround yourself as much as possible with positive thinking people. It’s the next best thing to being a naturally optimistic person yourself!