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How to Deal With Cynicism

by Kristen Moutria

There are many beneficial reasons to keep a positive outlook on life. A 2009 survey conducted by the American Heart Association indicated that women who demonstrated an optimistic attitude had fewer cancer-related deaths, lower levels of heart disease and less mortality. If you find yourself struggling with cynicism, there are a few steps you can take to help overcome your negativity and become more emotionally healthy.

Ask Yourself Why You Are Cynical

Analyzing your behavior and determining what is at the root of your cynicism can help you deal with your unhappiness and begin to develop a healthier perspective on life. Dr. Lisa Firestone reports in "Psychology Today" that cynicism is "a part of a defensive posture we take to protect ourselves." Usually it happens when you decide not to deal directly with your emotions and instead bury them and allow them to fester. Next time you feel cynicism rising up in your heart, try to pinpoint what painful thought you might be trying to avoid. Dealing with it directly can help you recover more quickly and keep you from developing cynicism.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Elizabeth Svoboda reports in "Psychology Today" that cynicism often develops because of a disconnect between expectations and reality. This leads to a feeling of helplessness and a generally dreary outlook on life. If you have high hopes and are repeatedly let down, it is easy to notice a pattern and begin to expect the worst. Being more realistic in your expectations will allow you to avoid being hurt when things in life do not go exactly the way you plan.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

One of the most basic ways you can deal with your cynicism is to change your habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle. WebMD reports that pessimists are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression. They are also more likely to be overweight, smoke and avoid exercise. Taking care of yourself physically is also taking care of yourself emotionally, and making sure you avoid letting toxins into your body and taking the time to work out can help you get rid of a cynical attitude.

Surround Yourself with People of Integrity

A study conducted by Fetchenhauer and Dunning demonstrated that people who are surrounded by those they discover are trustworthy become more trusting themselves. Being constantly lied to allows cynicism to grow, while having friends that tell the truth promotes an optimistic attitude. Do your best to surround yourself with people you know are honest with you; doing so will help you overcome your cynicism, as you realize that people can be trusted to be honest and respectful.

About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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