Los Angeles radio station KNX aired a segment called Optimism could keep you alive longer on its In Depth program (June 8, 2022). KNX hosts interviewed Dr. Courtney Conley, founder of the Expanding Horizons Counseling and Wellness. The segment starts at [34:42]
[35:14] Conley: Stress has an impact on our body. And of course if we’re more optimistic, we’re less likely to experience as much stress as we would if somebody has a more negative outlook on things. And there are a lot of times when you’ll find what you’re looking for … So if somebody generally has an optimistic outlook and sees things more positively, they’re going to see things in a more positive light. And if somebody has that negative outlook, they’re going to tend to find the bad in things easier, which is what is going to lead to that stress.
[36:03] Conley: It had a lot do with the mind-body connection….
[38:15] Conley: Stress in itself doesn’t necessarily exist. We can’t see it. It’s not flying at us as we’re walking down the street. It’s our perception of the events going on around us. And our mind either designates it as stressful or it designates it as manageable. And a lot of times, unfortunately, people have the same heightened reactions to things that are manageable as to things that fall along the more unmanageable side of things…
Put everything on an inconvenience versus tragedy scale. And then decide how much mental and emotional weight it really deserves to take up out of your day. If somebody cuts you off in traffic, that can be frustrating. I get that. I understand that. But it does fall along the inconvenience. But we often will carry that with us throughout our day. We’ll carry that stress, that frustration, and that irritation. So keeping some perspective around how serious was this and how much do I want to let it impact the rest of my day—and even follow me through the week, holding onto stress longer than that 24-hour period.
[40:00] Conley: A positive outlook builds resiliency and that willingness to try.
Whereas when we get into that negative state: I’ve put on weight, I’m not as mobile, I’m getting older, I can’t do some of the things I used to be able to do… I think that creates more of that atmosphere of defeat… where people do slip into that atmosphere of depression and negative mindset.
[40:46] Conley: Most of the time we talk about that inconvenience versus tragedy scale, they’re really able to identify things that they might overreact towards, and might give more mental and emotional weight to than they necessarily need to. So in general, most people are looking for ways to be more optimistic and to be more positive and to manage those stressful events in their lives. And this is just one of many therapeutic strategies that you can use in order to do that.
[41:20] But most folks are definitely looking to clear out some of that overwhelm and to approach life more positively. They want to find that joy. They want to find that happiness.