Cheerfulness is a powerful emotion. It is similar to gratitude; yet, it is forward looking. It is a can-do attitude of making the most of what occurs in our life. Its positive effects on the quality of our lives cannot be underestimated — on ourselves and those around us.
While there is an important place for painful emotions, retaining a cheerful attitude can powerfully impact our lives and relationships. More and more research shows that cheerfulness materially changes brain chemistry helping enhance mental and physical health.
Pollyanna cheerfulness can be false and annoying. However, being cheerful does not entail naïveté or refusal to acknowledge the difficulties that arise in life. It means being willing to take on life’s challenges instead of sitting back and complaining.
No matter what the struggles that we face, we can still develop a cheerful attitude. This does not mean that we don’t feel the pain or are not aware of the challenges that exist. It means dealing with life’s difficulties with the positive expectation that we can overcome them.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD