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Happy List Day 2: Optimism

Feeling Happy

I was taking a flight back home from Austin last week and got to the gate kind of late. I had to stuff my bag in the overhead compartment and might squash somebody’s duffle bag a bit. Since the duffle bag was pretty loosely packed, I didn’t think it was a big deal. But when the plane landed, the duffle bag owner started to yell at my face, “You are the stupidest bitch I have ever seen. See what you did to my BAG!” Of course, I wasn’t happy to hear the B word. But trying to be polite, I asked him if there was any damage so I could pay him some money. He kept on screaming, “Just stop being an idiot!” and stormed out of the aircraft. I wanted to cry. Actually, I did cry on the way home and even at home. I couldn’t understand why people would say such mean things to me when there was apparently no damage done to that person. I even offered to pay the damage if there was any. To be honest, it was hard to let it go. But finally I convinced myself, “Well at least I am not an angry miserable unhappy person like that guy.”

We hit bad luck here and there. We all had to go through some terrible experiences somewhere in life. Even the worst experiences have their bright sides. Take that airplane story as an example: at least I know I am not a crazy angry bitch.

Embracing all of your life experiences - even the really painful ones - with the knowledge that something good inevitably will come out of them is what optimism is all about.” It helps minimize fears about the future and could otherwise become debilitating, allowing you to move past them more quickly and ultimately lead a more carefree life, ” says Baker.

A classic study from University of Massachusetts found that accident victims who had become suddenly paralyzed were more hopeful about the future than lottery winners. A possible reason: The tragedy allowed them to see that most of the stuff that gets us down isn’t really worth fretting over.

So how to be a “Glass Half Full” thinker? There are many ways, but what worked for me was trying to approach a bad situation with an open mind and try to find the upside of it. So far, I have found the “bright side” in everything, good or bad.

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