Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Be Optimistic, Don't You Be a Grumpy...

Thanks for all your great comments last night on my job post. It was interesting to hear the ups and downs of your different professions, and I realized I didn't know what some of you do even though I read your blogs every day!

So, this morning I woke up to Eric's phone beeping a half an hour before the alarm. His school had an early release day in preparation for the huge snow storm. I couldn't fall back to sleep so I checked on my school...CLOSED. Awesome, I'm awake at 5:30 am and I have nothing to do today. Oh yeah, and if you know me you know there is no way I'm going to fall back to sleep after being woken up. There was no snow to be seen so I headed to the gym to get in a lifting workout and some quick cardio.

When I got home I immediately plopped myself at the dining room table and started to do report cards. I have conferences the first week of March and I have spent every February vacation the past 4 years doing report cards. I was dreading bringing ALL the assessment information with me to Arizona so I decided to at least get a few done today. A few turned into 11 hours of report cards and now I am DONE. Well not done, I still have a few kids I have to check in with who are absent when I was doing things. But as far as bringing stuff to Arizona goes, I am done and I actually GET a vacation next week. WAHOO. But I take back everything I said about wanting to be a writer, my back is killing me and my body is completely confused about why I sat ALL day long.

Oh and did I mention we probably got like 1 inch of snow? Not kidding. Predicting the weather is CLEARLY not an exact science.

So even though I'm pretty happy with my accomplishment now, I spent the entire day in total misery. I was pissed that the day was cancelled, especially since Eric had a half day (which is way better because he doesn't have to make it up). This year in particular I don't want any snow days because I need those days for wedding stuff in June. Plus, I lost another day of tutoring and I don't get paid when I don't go. Also, doing report cards is terrible and would make any normal person miserable.

So while I was in a state of misery I was thinking about a little "trend" I've noticed. This goes along well with the whole "grass is greener" conversation yesterday. Have you noticed when people complain, others tend to compete with the complaint? For example, I might say, "ugh I had the hardest day at work today" and Eric might say, "ugh, not as tough as mine, this happened, this happened and this happened..." etc.

Seriously? This is a terrible habit! I'm not against complaining, but why would we ever want to have a worse day than someone else? We should want things to be better for ourself and the other person. There is no prize for having the worst day, job, work out, whatever. Does anyone else notice themselves, or those around them doing this? I totally admit, I do this.

I think we are all well aware of the benefits of being optimistic on our emotional well being. Studies have shown that people who look on the bright side have much better quality of life. But did you know about the effects on your long term health?

This article from Everyday Health discusses the effects of optimism on your life. Apparently, an upbeat attitude can reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease! It can also lesson pain and has been shown to make you live a longer life. So, you get to be happier AND live longer? No downsides to that. The article suggests a few different strategies for "optimism exercises" such as yoga, religious exercises, or whatever makes you feel optimistic (going for a walk, playing with your dog etc).

I have lots of things that make me feel more optimistic when I'm stuck in a bad mood...

-Exercise, especially cardio, something about sweat...
-A walk outside
-A delicious meal or some ice cream
-Being with Eric, family and friends

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Do you believe that an optimistic attitude can help you live longer?

What do you do to change your mood when you are in a bad one?


  1. Yay that you get to enjoy your vacation sans assessments! I love coming home to my cats and hubby, talking to my mom, hitting up the sauna at the gym. And my wine rack :)

  2. Hey there! I am definitely an optimist but also have my days! We all do! I think the key to getting out of it is allowing yourself to be upset for a bit and then snapping out of it by doing something you love - like exercise, eating, crafting, etc. Focusing on the good things is always positive too!

  3. I definitely believe an optimistic outlook is good for your overall health -- there has to be something healthy about not be stressed out or down.

  4. We're so far north in ME that we haven't gotten any snow at all and there is none forecasted this week. No residual effects for us! I would have probably been aggravated too if it meant I had to make it up. As much as sitting for 11 hours must have sucked, I bet you'll be thanking yourself next week!

  5. I can't believe this "snowstorm," I'm jealous you got the day off!

  6. I am definitely an optimist and my fiance is an absolute pessimist. I truly think postive thinking does help one live longer- lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and the like. If I'm in a bad mood I usually try to distract myself by reading a good book. Yoga definitely helps too :)

  7. 1. YES I think an optimistic attitude can help you live a longer, happier life!
    2. I am HORRIBLE at getting out of funks/bad moods but I'm trying hard to work on it by looking at the positives and remembering I have a really good life.
    3. As for the "competing complaining," I have a problem with this.. I realized I do it to make people feel better, like "look it could be worse," but now that I think about it, it really doesn't make them feel any better. I'll have to work on this, apologies for doing this to you today hahaha, I hope I didn't inspire this blog post!

  8. UGH! My Eric does that all the time. Our jobs are so different because mine is MENTALLY taxing and his is PHYSICALLY taxing. So when I say I'm exhausted after a long day of work or school he'll be like, ummm didn't you just sit around all day! Umm, NO, I did not I was using my brain A LOT and doing the kind of work I do is mentall exhausting because it's lots of thinking, writing reports etc.

    OK, I'll quit ranting about that now haha.

    I am usually an optimist but I can be a real pessimist when I want to be!

    YAY for getting your report cards done and having a REAL holiday next week!!

  9. That is so true about the "rant competitions"!! I agree optimism is sooo important for our mental health! I go through waves of optimism and pessimism I would love to say I'm always an optimist--but in all honesty....I have my days.

    Since you are having snow, and cold -- I will make you happy with the news that Arizona looks like it should be good weather next week! I know 70's are in the forecast for this weekend (I live in AZ). So yay!! Enjoy your vacation! You deserve it! :)

  10. Trying really hard to be more optimistic this year and to see things from other points of view, especially if mine is a negative one! Germany NEVER has snow days. Even when the snow is actively falling in the morning, they just carry on. Crazy and definitely VERY different than Portland.

  11. What a productive day! I'm glad you can enjoy a truly relaxing vacation!

    I like to think of myself as an optimist. But I am also a big worrier!

  12. great topic/post - and great reminder!

  13. Aw, too bad about the 'off' day but great job getting your reports done! It definitely would have sucked bringing those to Arizona.

    Optimism... yes, it is something I'm working on. Hubs and I often catch ourselves competing for who gets to be most miserable. What's the point? I'm trying to encourage us both to be more positive and if it HAS been a really sh*tty day, let's do something about it instead of just whining!

  14. I am a very optimistic person and try to find the good in every situation. I do have one friend in particular that will try to up me if I say that I am having a long or rough morning. Her's is always worse.

    I truly believe in the power of optimism. It is so important. I don't see any positive in looking at situations or things from a pessimist's point of view, but that's just me.

    When I am in a bad mood, it's usually stress related or work issues, so I try to give myself some "me time" with either a good workout or a relaxing evening without the tv ... maybe some tunes on the Bose. :)

  15. It annoys me when people feel like they need to compete for having the worse day, job, etc. It's not a competition!! So annoying.

    Perspective is so important. I try to be optimistic and look on the bright side of things, but it is a choice as I will say I am a glass is half empty person by nature...

  16. My bf says I'm a pessimist. I tell him I'm a realist. ;)It really depends on my mood, as well as the moods of people around me. I really am affected by the attitude in a room.