Time For Therapy?
Is your cup of life half empty or half full? How would you describe yourself? Are you generally dissatisfied despite all objective indications to the contrary or do you see life events through a prism of optimism? There is a large body of research substantiating the powerful effects that your attitude has on many aspects of your life. Your physical health, your sense of well-being, and even your longevity are dramatically influenced. Studies have indicated that individuals with optimistic perspectives on life generally have a more positive sense of their own well-being, are less likely to experience anxiety, are less prone to depression and live longer and healthier lives.
Since 1994, researchers have examined the results from the Women’s Health Initiative. Approximately 100,000 women age fifty and over were studied in terms of their outlooks on life, their physical health, and their emotional well-being. The eight years of follow-up findings indicated that those who had optimistic outlooks lived longer and healthier lives than the pessimistic participants. Also, optimists were thirty percent less likely to die of heart disease and fourteen percent less likely to die of any cause as compared with the pessimists. In a Mayo Clinic Study following more than 800 people, those whose outlooks were pessimistic had a nineteen percent increase in risk of death, as compared to their optimistic counterparts.
If good health, emotional well-being, supportive relationships and longevity are priorities of yours, these findings warrant serious consideration. Optimists tend to be calmer, more tranquil and generally happier people. They report fewer health problems, fewer interpersonal difficulties at work and at home, and they evidence more energy and comfort in social settings.
If you view events through a prism of pessimism, you may at times wonder “How did I become this way?” Have you considered that you may be depressed, may have been for a long time and are disconnected from this possibility? Your perspective or attitude did not just occur. It developed through a combination of nature, the genes you inherited, and nurture- all that comprises your upbringing and life experiences. These contributing factors are numerous and intimately interrelated. However, they do not create a reality that is etched in stone! Old negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving can be changed. The seductive relationship between thoughts and feelings are malleable through the mind-body interface and psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy can help in your struggle with anxiety, depression and feelings of being overwhelmed, as they impact on daily functioning, relationships and parenting. You can learn to identify your strengths, to overcome your challenges and limitations and to introduce permanent change in your life. A shift in your perspective, while initially experienced as cerebral, contrived and foreign, can be a powerful tool in reorienting how you feel, think and behave. It can provide you with an opportunity to live with greater ease, to interact with others more comfortably and to achieve greater fulfillment, as a result of the permanent change brought into your life.