Monthly Article Archives: February 2020

Optimism and Our HealthRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

A few weeks ago I read an article in Harvard Health by David Topor that addressed a topic of great interest to me, namely, the impact of optimism on our physical and emotional well-being. I decided to write about that theme for this month’s column. Little did I know that the most recent website article authored by my close friend and colleague Sam Goldstein would touch on a related topic—happiness. I have discussed happiness in a number of my previous articles, especially citing the work of psychologists Shawn Achor, Richard Davidson, and Barbara Fredrickson, and emphasizing the importance of creating positive emotions in our school, work, and home environments in a more deliberate and intentional way. Such emotions can serve as a strong foundation for the development of meaningful and productive lives. I want to call attention to Sam’s article, given the unique evolutionary perspective in which he framed his remarks. Sam has the impressive ability to see a broader context without losing sight of its meaning for each individual and family. As others have done, Sam noted the benefits of happiness and, in addition, he suggested that “happiness is an affective state that motivates us to engage in actions

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