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The Many Health Benefits of Optimism

Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Optimism:  A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. (TheFreeDictionaty.com)

Remember Pollyanna, the orphan who played the Glad Game? She was always looking at the bright side of her numerous trials and tribulations. What if she was right?

What if a positive attitude actually helps us through life?

 

New and enticing research indicates a positive attitude does just that. The research shows the way we think and what we think really does influence our lives.

The benefits of being optimistic are huge.

Optimism has been linked to better over all health, and an increase in longevity.

                                                                                                                                                                         From the Discovery Health TV Website:

People who learn to maintain an optimistic attitude may not only avoid depression, they may actually improve their physical health, according to a controlled study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman, Ph.D., and Gregory Buchanan, Ph.D. [Emphasis mine]

Another study reported in Circulation magazine found that optimists are 9 percent less likely to develop heart disease and 14 percent less likely to die from any cause.

Mark Stibich, Ph.D. at About.com *writes:

Research shows that how you perceive aging affects how long you will live. In a study of 660 people, those with more positive perceptions of their own aging lived an average of 7.5 years longer. This effect remained after other factors such as age, gender, income, loneliness and health status were controlled. [Emphasis mine]

How does 7.5 years compare to other longevity boosters? Quite well it turns out. Also from the About.com article, here is a brief list of the number of years that each of these other health factors are believed to add to life:

  • lower blood pressure: 4 years
  • lower cholesterol readings: 4 years
  • maintain healthy weight: 1-3 years
  • do not smoking: 14 years
  • get regular exercise: 1-3 years

According to the Mayo Clinic the health benefits of positive thinking are:

Increased life span

Lower rates of depression

Lower levels of distress

Greater resistance to the common cold

Better psychological and physical well-being

Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

How a positive attitude actually works is still a mystery. But the research is clear. Being and staying positive has huge payoffs for our health.

And best of all, these health benefits are FREE.
No doctors!
No hospital stay.
No expensive health insurance.

Now being an optimist does not mean taking a ‘don’t worry’ or ‘nothing bad will ever happen to me’ view of life. Bad things can, and do, happen to optimists too. But it seems optimists do not view setbacks as permanent or unchangeable. Pessimists on the other hand often feel helpless and give up.

Researches have learned part of the difference between optimists and pessimists is thought patterns and self talk.

Next post I will discuss thought patterns and self thought.

Till then sit back, relax and enjoy this positively delightful video of Frank Sinatra singing High Hopes.

wwwww

    ZZZZZZZ

XXXXXXXX

Featured Recipe  
My Mother’s Chicken Wings with Apples & Brown Sugar

Today I do not have a recipe like the kind I have always shared before. I can give you ingredients, but not specific amounts. That is how my mother cooked. All her recipes were in her head. So what I am going to do is post a picture and then make some commentary for each step you take.

This recipe is so super easy though that not having a formal recipe will  make little difference.

This is what you will need for 2 people:

Chicken wings, as many as you want

Flour

Poultry seasoning

Salt & pepper to taste

Oil for frying

1 apple per person**

Some brown sugar

** It is best not to make too many of the apples. They do not reheat well. They are better fresh. So I cooked only one for me today.

Here is what you do:

Place enough oil into a skillet over medium heat to fry the chicken.

While the oil is heating,  pat any excess moisture from the chicken and remove any pin feathers that may still be on the wings. Manuever the wing tip up and then behind the  larger part of the wing. Usually this is pretty easy. Every once in a while you find a wing that does not want to cooperate.

Sprinkle some poultry seasoning on both sides of the wings. No salt. Next step.

Place some flour, about 1-2 tablespoons per wing,  salt and pepper to taste, and the poultry seasonings  into a plastic bag. Don’t put too much flour in the bag. You will only be coating 2 or 3 wings at a time. You can add more later.

How much poultry seasoning depends on how much you like and how strong a flavor you want. I like it a lot, lot, lot, LOT! Did I remember to tell you I like a LOT of poultry seasoning.  I really want to taste it. So I put in about 2-3 teaspoons (I don’t measure. I eyeball it.) per wing. What I mostly do is smell it. When it smells like what I want I stop. I have made this so many times I just know.

Also, I add scant salt as there is plenty in the poultry seasoning, otherwise the wings are too salty. But I do add pepper.

Close the bag and shake to mix it all together.

Now add a few wings to the bag, about 2-3 at a time and shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your chicken. Shake your chicken.

You can shake your booty too while you shake the bag if you are so inclined. Cooking should be fun. Plus you can count it as exercise.

Shake the excess flour mixture off the chicken and place the wings directly into the hot oil in the skillet.

Continue coating the chicken and place in the skillet until it is full. You may need a bigger skillet than I used if you are cooking for a lot of people. Or you may have to cook the wings in batches. If this is the case keep the finished wings in a warm oven till all of them are cooked.

Fry the wings until they are nicely browned on one side. This will take about 10-12 minutes, maybe longer. Just keep checking.

While the wings are browning wash the apples and cut into slices.

Turn the heat on to medium-low under a different skillet large enough to hold the apples. Sprinkle some of the brown sugar on the bottom of the pan and place the apples on top.

Sprinkle a bit more brown sugar on top.

Check on your chicken. You will find that all of the wings do not cooperate with the cooking process. At least one will not keep the wing tip nicely folded and in place and will so it will stick it up in the air like the one in the picture below. This is not a problem. Just keep on cooking.

Cook until the wings are nicely browned and then turn them and cook the other side. The wings may not brown and crispen all at the same time. Turn the ones that are ready. And check on the others periodically.

At this point  you will be paying attention to two skillets, the chicken and the apples. You want to let the apples alone until the brown sugar starts to melt. Actually, you are going to leave the apples alone even after the brown sugar starts to melt. I just wanted to alert you that the brown sugar will and should melt. Below is a picture of what it looks like when it starts to melt.

Below, more of the brown sugar melting. Just leave everything alone. You do not have to do anything at this point but monitor.

 When the apples and brown sugar start to look like this, see below,  nice and bubbly,  it is time to turn the apple slices over and let them continue cooking. This will not take long. You want them cooked through yet still be crisp. When they get there if your chicken is not quite ready, just take them off the heat.

Now back to the chicken. Continue cooking and browing and turning the chicken over till it is the color you like. You will know it is done when no more blood oozes from the joints. (Don’t worry. Not that much does. But you may see some and it is a good sign the chicken is fresh; plus it lets you know when it is cooked through.)

When the chicken is cooked through and brown all over it is time to plate. Let the chicken sit on the plate for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute. Add the apples to the plate and spoon a bit of the melted brown sugar over the apples.

Oh goodie-goodue!!! Now it is time to eat. Both the chicken and the apples will be extremely hot. I give you fair warning. Be careful of your fingers and your tongue.

And breaking apart the pieces of the wings and eating with your fingers is the best way to eat these wings. It is part of what makes them SO YUMMICIOUS!!!!!

8 Chicken wings                                                $4.74

Flour (apx. 2 tbsp each wing)                             $0.28

Poultry seasoning (apx. 2 tsp each wing)             $0.80

Salt & pepper to taste                                            —

Oil for frying (apx. 1/3 cup)                               $0.21

1 apple per person                                           $1.10

Some brown sugar(apx. 8 tbsp)                        $0.04

Total cost = $7.17        
Cost per person = $3.59           

 Quote of the Day:    

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.   

Harry S.Truman

*Research source for About.com: Levy BR, et al. Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2002 Aug; 83(2):261-70.

xxxx

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