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Can You Teach Yourself to Be More Optimistic?

Take 20 minutes and envision yourself in the future. Imagine yourself as the best possible you. Now write it down.
11/13/2015 10:04am ET | Updated November 13, 2016
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The benefits of optimism cannot be ignored. Optimism is associated with vitality, positive moods, increased well-being, better mental and physical health and less anxiety and depression.

Optimists are also be more likable and fun to be around.

The good news is that even Debbie Downers can learn how to be more optimistic.

Keeping a "Best Possible Selves Diary" is the top recommendation of Stanford psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. It entails envisioning your best possible future and writing it down.

Volunteers who kept a "Best Possible Selves Diary" exhibited increases in optimism, better moods and fewer physical complaints.

Of course it does not guarantee a future full of fairy dust and unicorns, but it certainly helps keep things in perspective and reminds us to focus on what matters most. A positive vision of the future provides confidence, and confidence, in turn, spurs an investment of time and effort in meaningful activities and provides a sense of purpose.

Here's your homework:

Take 20 minutes and envision yourself in the future. Imagine yourself as the best possible you. Now write it down.

For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else
- Winston Churchill

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