By Walter E. Jacobson, MD
Reader’s Question: “What is the best way to see the glass as half-full as opposed to half-empty?”
Without having a specific situation to refer to, the best I can do is provide generalizations as to how to see things in a more positive way. In general, regardless of how horrible your life might be, it can be helpful to count your blessings, to be grateful for what you have despite whatever lack or limitations you’re faced with.
It can be helpful to remind yourself that things could be worse, that many others on the planet have it a whole lot worse than you do.
Try to find a way to perceive what’s happening to you as a blessing in disguise. Look for the lesson. Look for the silver lining.
Focus on what can go right as opposed to all the things that could go wrong. Don’t assume the worst. Be hopeful. Keep your mind open to unexpected outcomes, possibilities and alternatives.
Perhaps the “best” way to see the glass as half-full as opposed to half-empty is to remember that it’s a choice. Your choice. You don’t necessarily have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you perceive what’s happened to you, how you react to it, whether to be demoralized and defeated by it or find a way to overcome it and transcend it.
Additionally, keep in mind that being positive is ultimately the “only game in town.” Regardless of what is going on, in the long run, being positive, optimistic and hopeful, as opposed to choosing negativity, pessimism and hopelessness, will serve you better physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Walter E. Jacobson, MD is a Board Certified Psychiatrist who has been in private practice in the Los Angeles area since 1999. Dr. Jacobson specializes in insight oriented psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, marriage counseling, medication management and spiritual psychotherapy. He was Editor of the The Southern California Psychiatrist, the monthly newsletter of the Southern California Psychiatric Society for two years and has written dozens of articles about psychiatry and mental health. Dr. Jacobson currently teaches The Art of Forgiveness as part of the Northridge Hospital Integrative Medicine program, and he is also Chairman of the Northridge Hospital Physician Well-Being Committee. Dr. Jacobson is a member of the National Association of Medical Communicators.