She refers to Suzanne C. Segerstrom, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky and author of a book called "Breaking Murphy's Law," who believes that optimism is not about being positive so much as it is about being motivated and persistent.
By the first definition, when I was in the hospital I was a pessimist, worrying so much that my nurse friend Vytas called me "Nervous Nellie."
By the second, I was an optimist, working as hard as I could to get better, even by encouraging my donor to take hold while I walked around the nurses' station. (I.e. I said over and over, "Come on donor, come on." Obviously this did not directly affect the outcome, but it did help me feel stronger and therefor might have helped my immune system.
When you look at the second definition, I think that a lot more people can consider themselves optimists.
Brody writes that according to Segerstrom and researchers from the Mayo Clinic, optimism can be learned.
One suggestion: Avoid negative self-talk. "Instead of focusing on prospects of failure, dwell on the positive."
We can all try that one, but hey, it ain't always easy.
For example, when I make a big mistake on the computer and have to redo something, I should NOT say, "YOU IDIOT, YOU SENILE PERSON, etc, etc."
When I am losing in a tennis match, I should NOT say, "You can't do this anymore."
I do know enough to then say to myself, "No negative self-talk!"
This blog is about falling down and getting up, coping and coming back after four bone marrow transplants for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, starting in 2003 when I was diagnosed after feeling winded while running a 10-K road race. I have three children, Ben, Joe and Katie, and one Labrador retriever, Maddie, short for Madison, as in Madison (Ave.), in honor of my hometown, New York, New York.