• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: Boost optimism

January 16, 2020

An increasing body of research suggests that optimistic people are healthier and happier than those who are pessimistic. But even if you are a negative thinker, you can teach yourself to make happiness a habit. Dr. Richa Sood, a Mayo Clinic general internist, has tips on how you can become more optimistic.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Optimism is good for your health. But what if you're pessimistic and have difficulty seeing the bright side of things?

"Optimism is sort of a mindset," says Dr. Sood.

She says you can train your brain to make optimism a habit.

"The brain is beautiful. The brain changes. We call it neuroplasticity," says Dr. Sood. 

So if you purposefully choose to think positively regularly, eventually the brain will form new pathways, and you will become more optimistic.

Dr. Sood has three tips on how to start. No. 1 is gratitude.

"Feeling grateful for things that are going right in life builds our optimism. Having a sense of meaning and purpose, being driven by some altruistic intentions and actions," says Dr. Sood.

No. 2 is building self-worth.

"How do we build self-worth? Well, surrounding ourselves with people who believe in us is a big one," says Dr. Sood.

And No. 3 is improving your health

"That would mean exercising, eating healthily, maintaining our body weight, staying away from toxins," says Dr. Sood.

Try these three ways to help train your brain to make optimism part of your everyday life.

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