The famous half full/half empty glass and happiness

Earlier this summer I went to a workshop run by a 72-year old man who kept saying that “life only gets better”. And he referred to research published on The Economist earlier this year (mentioned in my blog about “age and happiness”) that shows people only get happier and happier after the peak of UNhappiness at the age of 46. I have thought about his comments several times. Clearly practical matters like caring for children and not enough money tend to become less of a worry with age, and life experience usually tells us that “things will work out”. But then there is something about attitude and that’s where the half full/half empty glass comes in.

I am sure that you have already read that optimists generally enjoy a better health and live longer than pessimists. So, there is something about people’s attitude. But, can attitude be changed? Or can pessimists learn to be optimists?

My assumption is that many people would argue that we cannot change basic aspects of our personalities. Well, from what I have seen in my relatively short career in professional co-active coaching, I would argue that you can alter some aspects of your personality. E.g there are exercises you can do to focus more on optimistic aspects of your life. By implementing a new habit, kind of a  “fake it ‘til you make it”, you actually do get a result; people tend to open their eyes to the good parts of their lives. There is also some interesting research done on “positive psychology” that shows positivity CAN be learnt and change can be made. There is a very good article from Carol Kauffman on this, called “Positive Psychology: The Science at the Heart of Coaching”.

So concluding on that: 1, Research shows that you get happier with age. 2, If you work on seeing the positive in life, you can become even more positive (and thereby live longer). If you combine 1 and 2, it’s like having a “double dip”, alas my conclusion is that the future looks bright!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , , , ,