Optimism depends on seeing the self as full of the emotional stuff it takes to rise to challenges and weather life's storms. Optimists believe that they are robust, and this perspective in turn allows them to choose to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. How well and smoothly our emotional regulation works will determine how much of our daily lives we spend in this optimistic, comfortable state. The more time we spend in this state, the more we will look like an optimist. But appearing optimistic merely reflects the aggregate, the sum of those little oscillating moments of optimism and pessimism over time, not some stable, enduring, unshakable trait. And that's good news, because it means that even small shifts in our capacity for self-regulation can lead to large differences in how much of our day we spend in a comfortable, peaceful emotional state.
SUSAN C. VAUGHAN, Half Empty, Half Full