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Optimism Leads to a Happy Heart

Optimism appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, an association that persists after all other confounding factors have been eliminated. Specifically, the researchers found that traits like optimism and hope, and higher levels of happiness and satisfaction with one's life, were linked with reductions in the risk of heart disease and stroke.

We all know people who are naturally optimistic, but what are the options for the rest of us? It is possible to learn a resilient approach to life's challenges, happiness stressors that we all face.

There are countless other methods to reduce suffering and improve your underlying attitude. A favorite of ours is described in Loving What Is, by Byron Katie, in which she describes the stress reducing technique she calls The Work. She invites readers to employ a simple, sometimes bittersweet, and often humorous technique that enables you to separate your life experiences from your reactions to them. Her technique offers genuine relief for many sufferers, and is easily learned and self-directed. Of course, there are many other options.

Amazingly, though, all roads to greater optimism share exactly the same first step. One way or another, you must recognize that you've become (pick the most appropriate: a curmudgeon, grouchy, depressed, a complainer, a pessimist, morose, etc., etc.,) and that you want to change that life experience for yourself. Now you know that not only will you enjoy life more but you can enjoy life longer if you find an effective path to greater optimism.

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