A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; WINSTON CHURCHILL Many of us consider challenges to be obstacles that keep us from the things we want. Those of us who are optimists tend to see the opportunity in those obstacles. In other words, an optimist will always believe that there is something positive to be gained regardless of the situation. An optimist will look for and find alternate solutions to problems, which can be satisfying and quite empowering. If we take this statement to heart, we can see that optimism has many deeper applications than simply creating a good mood. Imagine how this positive outlook could help change how we view our own health. As discussed in earlier articles, stress is a part of life, but what if we could use optimism as an added tool to deal with stress? Maintain a broader perspective and keep your mind focused on the important things in life like spending time with your family and not fussing over not getting that promotion. A hopeful mind will remain receptive to happiness and keep things open ended even in the bleakest situations. Embrace positivity, even in the worst of situations and you will always be happy no matter what. Happiness follows positivity. By forgiving others, despite infliction of hurt or injustice, we negate bitterness and usher in optimism. Nurture happiness over foundation of optimism and hopefulness. Most people If you never forgive someone, you may not talk to them, not want to interact with people who interact with them and even can't be in the same room with them. However, you will be surprised that the person you have not forgiven sleeps well, eats well and may even not remember that they hurt you. Forgive, and you will be a happier person. He fought the devil when he was melancholy because in his understanding that was getting to the source.

And, again, he was just as quick to talk about fighting the devil in the midst of his other health ailments. He knew all of these trials could distract from the freedom and comfort of the gospel, so he fought back. I'll let you do your own reading on all Luther has to say about combating the devil (be prepared for some lively commentary). In short, he armed himself with Scripture, sang music, and mocked the devil, focusing on the devil's impotence in the face of Christ's victory. And he looked to the hope and comfort of Christ, our victor, our gracious Lord. Luther learned this battle in his monastery days as he battled his anfechtungen, and he engaged in it again in Wartburg as he furiously wrote and translated. It's the tactic he took every time the clutches of despair grasped at his mind. STRENGTH SOON DEJECTED: LUTHER'S ILLNESSES After ten months of exile, Luther left Wartburg Castle and returned to Wittenberg to give leadership to the growing Reformation movement. What if by simply changing how we approach the stressors in our lives we could affect the toll stress takes on our bodies? As we try to find tools for ourselves and our patients, optimism is a tool that is powerful, yet so often underutilized. Many people are optimistic when things are going well, such as when they have good health. But they find being optimistic difficult when their health is poor. Many think optimism is genetic, that you are born with a fixed outlook. You either have it or you don't. People often say, Well, this is just how I was born or I can't change how I feel. But research shows that although there is a genetic component, optimism can also be cultivated, grown, and expanded. Can Optimism Improve Health? A meta-analysis of 83 studies showed optimism, as well as reduced rates of depression and heart disease, were associated with improved health outcomes in cancer and pregnancy. Examine your life and get rid of any clutter around you.

Ensure that you find balance between your work life, family, social life and all aspects of your life. Remember for you to be happy, all aspects of your life need to be in balance. Don't expect to be happy when you spend so many hours working and never have time for your family or for social interactions. Once you attain that balance, then you will be in a position to live a happy and fulfilling life. Yet, many people don't know how. Some believe that by having more possessions, they will E definitely find something fulfilling. Don't get me wrong, you are allowed to treat yourself whenever you can. But those are not the only ways you can add happiness to your life. And they might definitely not be long-lasting, since you might end up looking for the next best thing to buy. It was a dangerous decision, as nothing had changed legally since he went into hiding, but the extreme and violent interpretations of his views that were emerging demanded urgent attention. Once settled again in Wittenberg, Luther set to work organizing the Protestant churches. He wrote a simpler liturgy in German for use in worship and a Large Catechism and Small Catechism for teaching and prayer. He also clarified the role of the sacraments and reduced them from seven to two: baptism and the Lord's Supper. In addition, much to the surprise of his friends, Luther married suddenly at the age of forty-one. His wife, Katharina von Bora, had escaped from a convent a few years earlier by hiding in old fish barrels. From what we know of Katie Luther, she was feisty, a firestorm of productivity, and possessed a stubborn streak to match her husband's. Katie and Martin Luther would have six children together. By all accounts, they came to deeply love each other and shared a happy marriage. For a wedding present, they were given the Black Cloister in Wittenberg. A potential reason for these improvements is that optimists make better lifestyle choices--they eat better and exercise more, they have more coping strategies to get through times of hardship, and they have more problem-solving capability to overcome adversity.

All this information compels us to find ways to increase our optimism and make it another valuable tool for health! Let's look deeper at this. How Do We Become Optimists? You may be thinking, Well, this is all well and good. But wanting to have positive emotions and social connectedness is one thing. Actually, having them is totally another. So how do we work on these positive thoughts? How do we improve optimism? In his article Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman, PhD, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, gives many pointers to help us become more optimistic. How do you find lasting happiness? Let us look at some ways. Happiness Tip # : Find Ways to Feel Better About Yourself Think of your favorite car, mobile device, or any other item. It could be your favorite clothing brand or restaurant. Now think of all the things you love about that brand, place, or object. Next, imagine someone saying that what you like is a terrible option. What would you say to them? Would you simply accept their feedback or would you actually try and explain to them why your choice is actually great? If you can find the good in objects, places, and situations, then why can't you find positive traits in yourself? It was the same Augustinian monastery Luther had lived in before the Reformation began.

The halls that once whispered with the prayers and studies of monks became their home, now echoing with the lively conversations of Luther and his students, the prattle of children, and the comings and goings of the growing Reformation. Throughout this bustling activity of life and ministry, Luther was often a sick man. In addition to extreme constipation, like he had suffered at Wartburg Castle, he developed kidney and bladder stones. The pain from them was so excruciating that he would compare them to death. He experienced a persistent ringing in his ears, vertigo, dizziness, fainting spells, and headaches, which some have suggested was Meniere's disease. He would also develop arthritis, as well as the heart problems that would eventually lead to his death. After this long list of Luther's physical ailments, I must pause for a brief aside. Luther has received criticism for his extreme and vulgar written attacks against his theological and political opponents. Toward the end of his life, he spoke out extensively against the Jews in what can only be described as despicably anti-Semitic rhetoric. He discusses practical exercises to decrease negative self-talk and challenges the way we view negative thoughts and beliefs. He teaches us to cultivate gratitude and positive emotions by actively shifting our minds from looking at the negative to finding the positive in any situation. Self-talk is that voice in our head that is always criticizing us. Can we learn to make that voice go away? How do we build lasting benefits from these concepts? Most of us make lists at the start of a new year to make changes, but we soon revert back to our old habits. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard researcher, author, and professor who teaches leadership, happiness, and mindfulness all around the world, stated in an interview for NBC's Today, Research shows that to bring about lasting change what we need [. Setting a reminder on your phone to turn your focus to the change you want to incorporate and doing these things on a regular basis lead to the changes in our brains. It trains our brains to create rituals that then allow us to keep up with the habits without much effort. One of his students, Shawn Achor, outlined these tools to help achieve these changes in his article The Happiness Advantage, and in his TED Talk, The Happiness Advantage. Put yourself in the same position as the things that you love.