Seven Ways to Stoke Your Natural Optimism

Home » Blog » Seven Ways to Stoke Your Natural Optimism

Good news: neuroscientists tell us that humans are hard-wired for optimism. Makes sense when you think about it — our ancestors went hunting and gathering and sailing and sewing and so on because they expected something good. 

Optimism itself is good — good for our health. According to a recent New York Times article, more and more long-term studies show that optimism fosters “exceptional” longevity and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic ailments. Other studies have concluded optimists have better pain management, immune response and physical function. But with all that is going on in the world today, how can we be optimistic?

Optimism does not mean we do not feel. We can feel sad and be optimistic, or feel angry and be optimistic. Optimism means that we anticipate a generally positive outcome from the experiences and events in our life. It’s having what research psychologist Carol Dweck calls “a growth mindset,” meaning that we expect to learn and develop from life’s challenges. 

Even so, our optimism can use a little care and feeding from time to time. How?

  1. Connect with your body. We don’t need faith or intention — if we have a body we have the basis for optimism. Start by closing your eyes. Experience your own tremendous vitality. “My body knows what it is doing. My breath is coming in and out of it. It wants to be here. It’s designed to heal itself. My heart is pumping. My senses work automatically and bring me some kind of gladness every day.” For extra endorphins, take a bath, a walk, or workout.
  2. Savor your gladness. Gladness is that joyous wordless whoosh we
Read More

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps – Harvard Health Blog

A man who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) five years ago sees his rheumatologist for a follow-up visit. Fortunately, his arthritis is well controlled through medication. He can walk and do all his daily activities without pain. But over the past six months, he’s been feeling short of breath when climbing stairs. He has an annoying dry cough, too. COVID-19? That’s ruled out quickly. But a CT scan of his chest reveals early fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs, most likely related to rheumatoid arthritis. “I can finally walk normally, and now I can’t breathe when I walk!” says the frustrated patient, whose next step is a full evaluation by a pulmonologist.

What is autoimmune lung disease?

This man’s experience offers one example of an uncommon but potentially life-altering complication associated with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, including:

  • rheumatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints
  • systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), a fibrosing disorder that typically affects the skin
  • dermatomyositis, which results in inflammation in muscles and skin
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), an inflammatory condition that can affect many parts of the body, including joints, kidneys, and skin.

There are various terms for this complication: autoimmune lung disease, interstitial lung disease, and interstitial fibrosis. Characterized by lung inflammation and/or scarring, it is one of many potential complications affecting different organs in people who have an underlying autoimmune or rheumatic disease.

What is autoimmunity?

Our immune system normally wards off infection and guards against cancer. The term autoimmunity implies that a person’s own immune system sometimes sees its own body tissue as foreign. When this happens, the body generates an immune response against itself. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience its effects on joints. But about 10% will also develop symptomatic lung disease like the patient described above.

Why is

Read More