Book Review-“Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life”

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Aug 252016

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
by Martin Seligman, Ph.D.

Wow! This is another book that I recommend to my clients, participants in my classes, and practically anyone who’s ever experienced depression, pessimism, or difficulty in achieving their dreams. Based on over twenty years worth of research, Dr. Seligman shows how optimism combats depression, improves health, enhances success, and much more. Not a rah-rah book for being positive, it covers the questions about his research and how he came to his conclusions.

There are exercises to test whether you’re optimistic or not, and how depressed you might be. A thought always precedes an emotion, and Dr. Seligman found that pervasive negative thoughts always preceded a person’s depression. He describes how some people “learn” to be helpless, and then don’t try, even when they are assured of success. If you’re a parent, teacher, or have a child in your life, the author explains how children become pessimistic and how it affects their lives. He even addresses the conditions when realistic thinking, not optimism, is best in the situation.

Best of all, this book gives instructions on how to change your thinking from pessimistic to optimistic. You simply have to learn how to change the way you explain the situations of your life to yourself. In other words, change your internal dialogue.

It’s an engrossing and entertaining read, considering that it covers much of his research. But it also gives case histories of people who have changed their lives. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Trending Articles of the Week

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May 272016

Flagstaff ArboretumThe Toxic Attraction Between an Empath and a Narcissist
This is written from the viewpoint of an empath. She contends that a narcissist is a wounded soul who takes and an empaths is a healer who gives. It’s a match made in hell. The empath needs to wake up and realize the destructive nature of the narcissist. This article gives some guidance to empaths on how to detach and heal from this kind of encounter.

How to Start a New Habit
When you start a new habit, but don’t carry it through, it’s tempting to beat up on yourself. But that’s counter-productive. Instead, ask yourself some questions to find what works for you.

The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.
Neuroscience has proved that the brain is malleable, that your thoughts shape how it responds to situations. It shifts with every thought. This article explains how your brain chooses between two opposing thoughts and feelings, having been molded from your previous thoughts. It also suggests a practice to train your brain to trigger more positive and optimistic ideas.

Psycho-Cybernetics: Lessons 6-12

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Nov 112015

The book, Psycho-Cybernetics, was groundbreaking and was a revelation to me when I read it. In this 9 minute video, author Dr. Maxwell Maltz is interviewed and describes lessons 6-12 of how to improve your self-image. Beliefs become habits, which are just self-hypnosis. He touches on the different habits that you have, the success and failure mechanism within you, and how to create changes that support your self-image and success.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Sep 302015

Sunset Crater, Flagstaff AZWhy Are Positive Affirmations Not Working For Me?
This article describes some of the reasons why affirmations may not be working for you. And it gives some specific instructions on what to do with them, and how to use them so they’re successful for you.

Do Our Words Really Matter?
Your life is the result your mindset. This article touches on a couple of studies that confirm this concept. One is a video of an experiment that was done.

Setting Goals – Why Is It So Important?
Goals are so essential to your success in anything you do that they should be considered the number one factor determining whether or not you’ll achieve something. Here are some great tips on how to create goals and the mindset you need to achieve them.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Aug 132015

Flagstaff Aspen RainbowHow to Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
All too often, we beat ourselves up for our failures or let ourselves dwell on the negative. By focusing on the positive, we’re more motivated, productive, and likely to succeed. Here are three tips to help you train your brain to stay positive.

Research: Meditation does more than calm your mind, it changes your brain
Practicing yoga and meditation can do more than calm your mind — research shows it can change your brain. Researchers found it changes parts of the brain connected to learning, memory, focus and the stress response.

Why Hiding Your True Self Feels So Terrible
Finding ways to be true to yourself — whatever that means to you — may be something more than a meaningless self-help cliché. Most people feel tainted when they behave in ways that feel false and feel good when they act in authentic ways. To our minds, authenticity may be a moral imperative.

Dr. Terry Paulson – Optimists Manage Their Own Motivation Every Day

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May 202015

Dr. Terry Paulson shares his Optimism Advantage advice on how to manage your own motivation and confidence in tough economic times. Learn practical strategies to make a daily difference in your positive attitude.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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May 062015

Flagstaff Aspen Rainbow5 affirmations that have the power to transform your life
The statements you tell yourself affect your feelings, beliefs and behaviors. Here are 5 positive statements, with a brief commentary, that can help you create a happier, healthier life. They are declarations of intention to keep you focused on what’s important.

Nine steps to work-place happiness
The biggest obstacle to happiness at work is your belief that you’re the prisoner of circumstance.
And your beliefs create your experience. Here are 9 steps that can help you keep your perspective, take control of your thoughts and have a happier, more harmonious life.

For Happiness, Keep a Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal has been studied extensively at UC Davis Emmons Lab. They’ve found that those who keep them experience a host of benefits, from better health and well being to feeling more connected to others. This is one person’s journey with keeping one, and transitioning from a pessimist to a more optimistic person.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

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Mar 172015

Flagstaff Aspen RainbowA Mindful Minute: How to Observe a Train of Anxious Thoughts
We all have negative self-talk that spirals into bad feelings that can then affect our behavior. This article has a great illustration to help teach children how to recognize and let go of their anxious thoughts. Although it’s created for children, it’s a great analogy for adults to learn how to do it, too.

How Happiness Influences Our Health, In One Chart
Happiness may be one of the best medicines when it comes to our physical health. Research suggests people who have an exuberant attitude also have a lower heart rate and lower levels of stress. Here’s a chart that shows the benefits of happiness and optimism.

8 Ways to be a Happier you
Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Your thoughts are a choice. This article suggests some easy ways to become a happier person. Most of them have been verified with research.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Jack Canfield: Create Your Attitude

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Nov 192014

Author and speaker Jack Canfield discusses how to become a reverse paranoid, or an optimist. An optimist believes that the world is conspiring to help them. This brings more opportunities into their lives. They take lemons and make lemonade. In this video, Canfield suggests different ways that you can approach challenges to make them work for you.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Jun 132014

In any type of crisis, it’s natural to focus on what’s going wrong. But if you shift your focus to what’s right in your life, you’ll build internal resources and recover more quickly. Learn how the simple act of appreciation can allow you to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart