Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for...


Sir Winston Churchill said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Me? I'm a natural-born pessimist. Sounds bad, I know. But hear me out. The reasoning behind this pessimism is simple: If I don't get my hopes up, I won't seep into the valley of disappointment, right?

Well. Sometimes that's true. More often, however, it's just me chickening out, because I'm scared. "Of what?" I can almost hear my mother asking me. "How will you ever know, unless you try? And if you fall, you get right back up and try again!"

You guessed it. Mom's an optimist. She's also right, and here's why I chose this word for today's A-Z Challenge: I need to practice optimism. In writing, in my everyday life. As human beings, when we get stressed out and self-awareness kicks in, we often feel anxious, frustrated, and downright irritated. The science behind that is the hormone cortisol, which is released when you're experiencing that crazy onslaught of emotions.

However, reality says that we can actually control the craziness and, if you will, brush ourselves off and get back in the saddle. How? Well, the first step is to acknowledge what's causing the tension. Then, take a deep breath, slow down (that's a big one for me), and move forward, leaving the anxiety and frustration behind. Set goals for yourself. Start small, show initiative, have the commitment to stick with your goals. Once you've achieved them, set more.

These gradual accomplishments build optimism, so that when stress comes again--and it will--we know how to knock it outta the park.

How do you stay optimistic?

Interesting fact: Did you know that laughing and keeping a good sense of humor actually lowers cortisol levels? Cool, huh?


Kyra Lennon said...

Great post! I have never been able to work out whether I am an optimist or a pessimist lol. There are many things I am optimistic about, but optimism isn't always my first thought!

Jake and Terri said...

Laughing lowers cortisol levels?!? That is great to know! I lean a little more to the pessimist side.

I'm here from A to Z!

Tracy said...

Keep working on the optimism, Alyssia! Not being optimistic because you’re afraid you’ll be let down is no way to go about it. Expect the best, and then deal with it all, you know? :)

Awesome writer and A-Z blogger Veronica Sicoe put up a great post that touches on this subject, specifically for writers. If you haven’t read it yet, you just might like it! Find it here:


I’ll end with my absolute favorite quote (seems as though we both like Churchill):

For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
- Sir Winston Churchill, speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet, London, November 9, 1954.

Ophelia London said...

I love this; it's something we should read every day!

I like to run. And I love cupcakes. If I'm not participating (or dreaming about) either of these things, I'm apt to feel blue. Running toward my favorite cupcake shop is win-win!

Changes in the wind said...

I thought it was a revelation to realize you don't have to stay a pessimist and from that time on have tried to improve by reminding myself how many times it didn't turn our negative.

Bonnie Rae said...

Great post! I especially needed to read this today!!

Lynn Proctor said...

yes--being an optimist has many health values and keeps me sane--great post

Andrew Leon said...

I'm neither. I'm a realist. Of course, looking at things realistically or objectively looks like pessimism in a world that's obsessed with optimism. An optimist ignores the risks and says, "It'll all work out."
A pessimists looks at the risks and says, "I can't do it."
A realist assesses the risks, makes adjustments and steps forward anyway.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, and I get the whole not getting your hopes up. My parents taught me not to do that by always promising things they never followed through on.

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