It’s National Look on the Bright Side Day. Today is the shortest day of the year — the day with the fewest number of daylight hours. And just a few days before Christmas, this is also a day when you might be racing around trying to get things done, dealing with difficult people, or coping with things that haven’t gone quite right. If that present you ordered didn’t arrive, or you step in mud wearing your new boots, or some other frazzled shopper is rude to you — today is the day to try looking on the bright side.
Looking on the bright side can be very beneficial. Some studies suggest that optimistic people — people who look on the bright side — live longer, manage pain better, and can even see better outcomes from disease.
What’s more, optimistic people often feel better about their health outcomes, even if measurable data doesn’t show that optimists were in fact in significantly better health than pessimists.
But sometimes looking on the bright side is not enough. Some psychologists and sociologists believe that people can learn to be more optimistic, but not everyone agrees. There is even some evidence that trying to be happier gets in the way of actually improving your mood.
If you can look on the bright side today, do. Get the health and mood benefits, and celebrate your positive outlook!
If you can’t look on the bright side, talk with your doctor. There are a number of medical conditions that can affect the way you feel, from Seasonal Affective Disorder to depression, and your healthcare provider can help. The National Institute of Mental Health has information on depression.