It's good to be an optimist.
Research suggests that people with a glass-half-full outlook are healthier than their pessimistic peers: They catch fewer colds, cope better with heart disease, and may even live longer. Yet far too many of us assume that optimism is an inborn trait bestowed on a lucky few. That's a completely wrong assumption, says James Maddux, a professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Can people learn to be optimists? "The answer is an indisputable yes," says Maddux. He and other experts recommend the following: