I sat back in my chair and smiled. On the surface it appeared that I took this comment lightly, as I'm sure it was intended, but on the inside I wondered what being, "so Pollyanna" meant. The way it was stated sounded a bit insulting, so when I got home I looked up Pollyanna on Wikipedia. Here's what the mastermind of the World Wide Web said,
"Pollyanna is a best-selling novel by Eleanor H. Porter (1913) with the title character's name becoming a popular term for someone with the same optimistic outlook. Eleven more Pollyanna sequels, known as "Glad Books" were later published. Pollyanna has been adapted for film several times."
What's it about?
A young orphan girl, Pollyanna, goes to live in Vermont with her wealthy, but stern aunt. Pollyanna's philosophy of life centers on what she calls, "The Glad Game," an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The objective is to find something to be glad about in every situation. With this philosophy, and her own sunny personality, Pollyanna brings so much gladness to her aunt's dispirited New England town that she transforms it into a pleasant place to live.
I felt better after reading about Pollyanna. I hadn't been insulted at that meeting, I had been complimented. After all, don't lots of people spend money on self help products and many hours in therapy trying to be "Pollyanna."
And does it work? Can being positive actually result in feeling positive? If you Google that question, you'll find people who say, a positive attitude = a happier life and those who argue the point. I figured the Mayo Clinic was a relatively unbiased source so went to it via my search engine. Here's what they report:
"Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- 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
So maybe Pollyanna was on to something with her "Glad Game." She explains it below (sorry about the marginal audio):
If it works in the movies, it can work in real life, right? You bet. Over the next two weeks we'll focus on true stories about how a positive attitude made all the difference, even saved lives.
Kick Back Book of the Week:
Let's go with Pollyanna by Eleanore H. Porter. It's a classic that if you haven't read, you'll be glad you finally did. If you've read it before, read it again. It'll be a good reminder of how to play The Glad Game.
Kick Back Song of the Week:
Ordinary Miracle sung by Sarah McLachlan from the movie, Charlotte's Web. This simple song is about the "glad" that surrounds us everyday.
A Little Something Extra:
Watch how Laverne and Shirley play the glad game without even knowing it.