a rather obvious connection between optimism and depression….or something else?

In case one wondered, it helps to be more optimistic in order to be less depressed. And new research coming from Australia shows that the most optimistic adolescents may be somewhat less likely to be depressed than their peers and have less heavy drug use and bad behavior. It should be noted though that this  new study (published online Jan. 10 and in the February print issue of Pediatrics, examined optimism in 5,634 children who began taking part in the research when they were 12 to 14 years old) doesn’t prove that optimism directly causes kids to be less depressed. Other factors could explain things. The study also suggests that the most optimistic kids were not able to avoid having as many bad things happen in their lives as more pessimistic kids. “Optimistic kids do better in avoiding emotional and behavioral problems during the teens, but it in no way makes them immune to setbacks,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. George C. Patton, of Australia’s Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. “There are a whole lot of other skills and experiences that are also important in getting through life.”

If that’s the case,  is it really acting happy or just having acquired the skill to be able to put things in perspective that helps one to be less depressed? There’s this billboard from the The Foundation for a Better Life that features Michael J. Fox, which says, “Determined to Outfox Parkinson’s…..Optimism Pass it On.”

Sure, I get what they mean regarding this ad, that optimism certainly helps in getting on with life. But I’ve never quite thought that what Michael J. Fox has been doing with his life is really about optimism, but rather, a honest recognition about the reality of life.

Then again,  I looked up the definition of “Optimism” on dictionary.com, and this is what I got:
________________________

op·ti·mism
/ˈɒptəˌmɪzəm/ 

–noun 

1.a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the
most favorable outcome.
2.the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.
3.the belief that goodness pervades reality.
4.the doctrine that the existing world is the best of all possible worlds.
_______________________
Maybe I’m the one that’s wrong here. Maybe I just need to be a bit more optimistic….
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