Did you know that Academy Award losers die 4 years earlier than Academy Award winners?*  That’s 1,460 days of life snuffed out due to a subjective judgment passed by others on a single performance.

The reason for this startling fact: The losers unconsciously spend the rest of their lives comparing upwards, instead of down. In the case of Oscar nominees who go home empty-handed, many of them harbor resentments against the winners until the day they (prematurely) die, along with hating the guts of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, their agents, their lawyers, the editors at Variety, and the entire Hollywood community. In their minds, they deserved that statue and now the odds are great that they may never get another shot at one as long as they live!

Sure, the losers may mouth the words “I’m just lucky to be here, in the company of these other fine actors,” but how many believe it, live it, and are truly happy for the winner? In fact, unless they know how to process this loss SuperOptimistically, they’re on the road to ill-health and bad fortune.

Instead of obsessing over another person’s success, look over your shoulder at a screw-up.  How about that old roommate who was always borrowing your favorite sweater when you were both in college?

You know — the one who developed the dependency on prescription drugs and is now living in the basement of his mother’s house?

And if you’re really in a fix, think about someone you knew who you didn’t like very much, and who is now dead and gone. Just a skull and bones, rotting away while you get to enjoy a cranberry scone with your piping hot coffee.  Feel better now?

Start any comparison with those less fortunate than yourself, rather than those who have more**, and you’ll be three steps closer to SuperOptimism.

*Redelmeier and Singh, Annals of Internal Medicine, May 2001

**“More” is a technical term used by the SuperOptimist to define the combined problems of money, power, fame, good looks, family status, height, skill, 4.0 GPA, influence, and premium real estate location. All of these are potential impediments to achieving SuperOptimism.

If you can only muster one mind-body activity today, make it a genuine gut-busting, milk-out-the-nose-spraying, wake-up-the-neighbors braying spell of laughter. It’s not just a temporary reprieve from the madness that we call “reality.” A blasting, snorting, teeth-baring laugh has definitive health benefits.  Among them are the following:

Reduce anxiety. You don’t need a clinical psychologist to tell you that laughter instantly relieves your body’s stress response.  If you’re laughing, you relax. But it is funny that people have felt the need to research this point.

Sort of like a scientific study on the benefits of brushing your teeth. Guess what?  If you don’t brush them, you will get cavities, gingivitis, bacterial infections, and die! And speaking of dentists, here’s little joke:

A pregnant woman learns from her dentist that she needs a root canal. She says to the dentist, “darn … I’d just as soon give birth as have a root canal”. The dentist replies, “well, make up your mind so I know what position to put the chair in”.

Burn calories —a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, researchers found the physical act of intense laughing gives your body a mini-workout similar to aerobic exercise. This being America, some enterprising souls have combined the two.

Positive jolt to your immune system — According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who laugh increase the number of activated T cells and natural killer cells.

In the right hands, even hideous, ungodly trauma can be funny. (Or not. This all depends on how elastic your sense of humor is.) Take Robert Schimmel, a professional funnyman whose 11-year-old son died of leukemia. While he was devasted as a dad, as a comedian, his job was to find something to balance the gloom. This is what he came up with:

“My son’s last request when Make-A-Wish came was to see his father get oral sex from Dolly Parton. To this day, his wish remains unfulfilled.”*

So fight back against the complete and utter ridiculousness of our political system, our PC culture, our information-age antics, our attempts at garnering accolades for mindless jobs well done, and our grasping and clawing for more of whatever it is that we want more of.  The best way to react to the trauma, the indignities, and the current crop of presidential contenders is by laughing like a hyena with Pseudobulbar Effect.

*By the way, at the end of his career Bob Schimmel needed a liver transplant, was being sued for divorce from his much younger wife, and had moved back in with his parents when he got too sick to make a living — at which point he was killed in a car accident.  Schimmel mined each of these experiences to make people laugh. Except for the car accident, that is.

In America, we’ve been socialized to believe that a “hearty breakfast” consists of eggs, flapjacks, cereal, juice, and the like.

Yet according to food historians, the concept of breakfast food didn’t exist in the U.S. until the mid-1800s. Before that, breakfast was a meal of leftovers, like cheese and bread. If you had a few bucks in the bank, you added meat and fish to your morning plate.

Then the families of Post and Kellogg toasted some grains, and later an egg lobbyist convinced Congress to put scrambled, fried and hard boiled at the top of their food pyramid. You could keep this American breakfast routine going. But why be trapped in the usual food patterns? Could there be a more exciting way to “break fast” that’s just even better than what’s on the menu at your local coffee shop?

One suggestion is adding some inner heat to your morning meal. It’s a sure-fire way to wake up, since hot spices release endorphins in your system, similar to a runner’s high.

While we’re deviating from local custom, why not tour more of the world when it comes to your a.m. cuisine?

In Pakistan, it’s Siri Paya in the a.m., a soup made from slowly cooking the head and feet of a cow, a lamb, or a goat, then adding tomatoes, onions, and spices.

Mexicans like huitlacoche with their eggs. Technically speaking, this is diseased corn, sporting a fungus that’s considered a delicacy in Mexico. The spores that infect the corn turn it black and give it a mushroom-like flavor.

And in Pennsylvania Dutch country (near where the first SuperOptimists were born), scrapple (leftover scraps from the pig, like the eyeballs, tail and snout) are ground into a patty and fried, much to the horror of those thinking sausage is the worst thing that can be done with a sow’s innards.

Hopefully these suggestions have whetted your appetite to try something new. But even if you decide to stick with a bowl of Cheerios, whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast. Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that men who did had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from heart disease.*

So here’s to having your cake and eating it for breakfast too, if you so choose.

*The researchers think that the no-breakfast brigade makes up for skipping the morning meal by stuffing themselves at night. This is neither good for their slumber, nor their metabolic rate.

Whatever kind of day you’re having, here’s a reason to feel fortunate: At least you’re not a Hippocampus borboniensis.

Despite living in salt water, far from the stresses of human existence, only five in a thousand seahorses survive to adulthood.  While there are many reasons for their short life span,  if you had to spend your days swimming upright using only a dorsal fin, you might expire early too.

Because their shape and body type make them one of the slowest-moving fish in the world, they’re easy prey for Asian fishermen who capture them for consumption in Chinese medicine. They’re prescribed for impotence, wheezing, nocturnal enuresis, and pain (though no clinical studies have been performed to validate these cures.)

On the plus side, their eyes can move independently of each other, which can be a great trick at parties.  But all things considered, if you’re 18 or older, consider yourself lucky you’re not checking your Apple Watch every five seconds like the seahorse to see if your time’s up.

Still feeling blue? The seahorse could use a friend. So why not save one? Helping others is a surefire cure for the mopeys, and they can make good pets for your saltwater aquarium.

Seahorses can set you back about $100.00 for 10 dwarfs. Just like picking stocks, do your research before diving in. We recommend buying seahorses that have been raised in captivity. These are healthier and will be easier to care for.

One thing to note: seahorses also require a lot of care. So if you’re not home much, maybe you should settle for this nice seahorse pillow instead.




One SuperOptimist practice we never get tired of? Adding the phrase “And isn’t that great!” to any thoughts we may be having.  A recent example can be illustrated by the following:

“Goddamn, I’ve just broken a tooth on a macadamia nut. Now I’ll have to see a dentist.”

Simply add our four magic words, and you can turn this bummer into a blessing: “Goddamn, I’ve just broken a molar on a macadamia nut. Now I’ll have to see a dentist. And isn’t that great!”

Here you’ve taken a rather pedestrian situation in which pain, expense, and inconvenience are the assumed outcomes, and reframed it into something that may have positive consequences.  After all, with the proper attitude, who knows what might happen at the dentist? You could meet a new lover in the waiting room! Your dentist might be experimenting with laughing gas and offer you some! You could decide to spring for an additional ultra-whitening session and walk out of there looking like Hollywood royalty!  Your dentist might accidentally find you have a serious lesion in your mouth that was going to kill you if you hadn’t seen him in time!

Here’s another one:

“Christ, where did summer go? It’s back to cold again.”

Again, add the phrase that pays.

“Christ, where did summer go? It’s back to cold again. And isn’t that great!”

Why is it great? It’s great because the cold helps you burn body fat, leading to a slimmer figure. It’s great because the cold keeps away invasive insects, like the Asian Tiger Mosquito. Most of all, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not stuck in these temperatures for long, and there’s a cup of hot cocoa waiting for you at the end of your journey.

Here’s another: “Donald Trump is still president. And isn’t that great!”

On the surface, this seems like a nonstarter if you’re not a MAGA-hat wearing racist. But give it a moment to sink in. Instead of wanting to hide under the covers at the thought, you can feel good that nuclear missiles remain in their silos and Ivanka hasn’t been named Secretary of Defense. (Not yet, anyway.)

And one more: “With my mediocre attempts at art, I’m never going to be the next Van Gogh. And isn’t that great!”

So your work isn’t on display in MOMA’s permanent collection.  Instead, you’re making a living selling commercial real estate, or working as an attorney, or driving an Uber. Why is that great? The pressure on you to be the next artistic success has been lifted, freeing you up to do more experimental work that may one day be celebrated after your death.*

*Also, your day job affords you a few niceties, like food and shelter, so you don’t have to ask a family member to support you like Vincent did. And while we can’t be sure, your psychotic episodes probably won’t lead you to sever your own appendage, unlike the struggling post-impressionist.


Lemons have suffered from an image problem since they first came to fruition. Perhaps this is due to their stinging acidity and tough skins (although both are considered positive traits in news columnists and football coaches). Not only does a “lemon” refer to a substandard product — most typically a used car — but it’s also used to mean “disappointing result” or “something unwanted.”

But as any SuperOptimist can tell you, it pays to step beyond conventional thinking and seek the truth for yourself.  Lemons are healthy fruits, rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, used in a myriad of wonderful products, from lemonade and lemon meringue pie.

Even better, lemons are a natural way to gain control over spiritual forces in the universe. They’ve been used for years by Feng Shui practitioners and Buddhist monks to keep negative energies at bay and enhance both health and mood. By placing a lemon in your pocket and taking it with you as you travel, you can protect yourself from the bad juju you may encounter while you are on the go.* Even easier, you can sport the positive lemon on clothing and save yourself any lemon-juice clean-up.

On the home front, you can halt negative vibes from entering and spreading through your domicile by cutting a lemon into four and spreading salt on each slice. Then place the slices at the entrance to your house and the lemon will absorb the creepiness from anyone who comes to your door.

What’s more, sleeping next to a cut-up lemon on your nightstand will add to your positive energy, as lemons have been used as a powerful aromatherapy oil for ages. Increased concentration, decreased stress levels, and smoother respiratory activity are just some of the benefits the night-time lemon will have on your health.  And as an added benefit, lemons also act as natural air fresheners and deodorizers. So why not put the power of the sour to work for you.

Wear this lemon t-shirt for good luck.

You are perfection when you wear the lemon.

*Note: If you choose to carry a lemon, it may dry up rapidly depending on how much negative energy you encounter. So make sure you replace your lemon with a fresh one, especially if you visit Washington, DC or any of these places:

What is it about blues music that makes us feel better? Doesn’t it seem counterintuitive to listen to the lamentations of a heavy heart and have one’s spirit uplifted?

In reality, it’s perfectly natural. The blues connects with our deep desire to accept the world as it is, even if broke, lonely and desperate are part of the mix. Blues and gospel singers take their angst, sadness and depression and make something beautiful out of them.

Which brings us to today’s Song of Good Cheer from the resident DJ at SuperOptimist headquarters. Whether you’re a Christian, a Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or still deciding, it helps to have a friend in high places when times get rough, as Mother McCollum suggests in “Jesus is My Air-O-Plane.”

Only six tracks survive from the gospel-blues stylings of Mother M., billed as the “Sanctified Singer with Guitar.” Listening to her transcend the heavy burdens of worldly existence with her majestic singing and plucking, we feel like she’s piloting a Douglas Dakota DC3 towards heaven.

Oh, Jesus is my air-o-plane
He holds this world in his hands
He rides along, He don’t never fall
Jesus is my air-o-plane

Some of these mornings, four o’clock
This ole world’s gonna reel and rock
Reelin’ and rockin’ you can have no fear
Jesus is comin’ in his air-o-plane

You can run to the east, run to the west
You can’t find your soul no rest
Some of these mornings, He’s coming again
Coming through in an air-o-plane

And speaking of heaven, her album also includes a beautiful number Mother McCollum recorded regarding the vacation she planned to take once she took leave of this mortal coil. You don’t have to save this one for the afterlife to enjoy it.

Another day, another deadline.  Already you’re swamped with wall-to-wall meetings and your nerves are tighter than Joe Biden’s latest facelift. So you can be forgiven for wondering how you’re going to make it through another long stretch before experiencing your next official holiday.

What’s a responsible member of the work force to do? Caring for your sanity and well-being should be a priority, but you can’t just light out for a long weekend whenever the board of directors does. That’s why we developed the “SuperOptimist Immediate Vacation.”

An I.V. provides instant gratification when it’s needed most by allowing your mind to escape its confines for a few welcome minutes. (Vacation has the word “vacate” embedded within, and for good reason.*) This momentary respite from gerbil-wheel cogitation can go a long way towards renewing your energy, your mood and your sense of humor.

So what constitutes the proper embodiment of a SuperOptimist I.V.?

1. Columbia University researchers found that exposure to the negative air ions created when air molecules are exposed to sunlight, radiation, moving air, and water generated feelings of alertness, mental clarity, and elevated mood. So your Immediate Vacation may be as simple as leaving the office and walking around the block. Just don’t tell anybody where you’re going.

2. Viewing a few pictures of your last vacation on your desktop can spark memory association of pleasant times while lowering your blood pressure. Keeping a tube of sunscreen in your drawer and taking a deep sniff can also ignite the senses to a time of peaceful clarity. Sun Bum makes a broad spectrum product that smells about right:

3. One tends to breath shallowly at work, which can clench rather than loosen the stomach, neck muscles, and sphincter. Close your eyes, place both feet on the floor, and breathe deeply through your nose for 5 to 10 minutes. If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them you’re in the middle of an “I.V.” and to “GFY.”

The Immediate Vacation is at the ready when you need it. Give yourself permission to take one whenever it suits. Your ticket to getting away from it all is always in your possession. And unlike exorbitant hotel and airline charges, it’s 100% free!

*Did you know? The Adirondacks inspired the first use of the word vacation, as in: “One vacates from the city to exchange humid heat for fresh air.In a similar fashion, one may vacate from work to exchange fetid thought for a clean slate.


Cimex lectularius (bed bugs) are getting some serious press attention these days, and on both sides of the aisle. The President of the United States is denying one of his “luxury resorts” has an infestation, claiming he’s the victim of a liberal conspiracy, while The New York Times has recently discovered that the small, brownish insects are feeding on its journalists.*  

People really freak out over bed bugs, to a degree that’s not warranted. These aren’t like having a deadly whistling spider in your your bed, or waking up to a kissing bug making a meal of your mouth.

First off, it doesn’t hurt when a bed bug sucks your blood. And while bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely, as any medical professional will tell you, Good news!

And sure, it’s a bit of a nuisance to get rid of the pesky creatures. But look at the positive side. It will force you to clean your carpets and curtains. They were due for a wash anyway, right? Same goes for your clothes and linens — now you won’t have to do the laundry for awhile! Plus you’ll be motivated to get rid of some of the clutter that can serve as a bed for bed bugs. Marie Kondo would approve!

What’s more, getting rid of bed bugs will also eliminate non-target pests, like spiders and ants and maybe centipedes too!

So while it may suck (literally) to discover bed bugs in your home or office, we’re here to tell you that things could be worse. For one thing, you could have scabies. There, don’t you feel better now?

Still looking for a safe, non-toxic response to the issue? Here’s one for your consideration. It’s called Ecoraider.

*Also if someone calls you a “bed bug,” don’t take it so hard. As we’ve pointed out, bed bugs are pretty tame compared to some other pests. If someone calls you a Formosan termite, well, that could be something to get worked up about.

And thanks to SuperOptimist Matt Olsen for giving us the itch to write about this important topic.

The lame duck mayor of New York? “Why him?” you may ask. He’s a politician who is disliked by his own city, his own state, his own party, and probably every single person who’s reading this right now.

And that’s exactly the reason we’re naming the sanctimonious, arrogant and annoying Bill de Blasio as our SuperOptimist of the Week!

For even though everyone who comes in contact with Bill de Blasio winds up thinking he’s a giant a-hole, he keeps forging ahead. Undaunted by hecklers.  Undeterred by the polls.  Unapologetic for spending taxpayer dollars commuting to a gym in Park Slope when he could join a New York Sports Club two blocks from his Manhattan office.

In a world where the average person is desperate for validation and heavy “likes” on facebook, how does Bill do it? How does he ignore the fact that he’s a punchline for pundits, late night comics and even his wife Chirlane?

Bill has a special superpower that few humans have. He has succeeded in overcoming his negativity bias to accept and embrace himself without exception. And so, despite the carping of his critics, Bill de Blasio continues to like, respect and celebrate the most important person in his life: Bill de Blasio!

We should all enjoy our own company as much as “the Blas”. After all, there’s no other person we’ll spend more time with during our stint on Planet Earth. So why not start today by giving yourself a deck of affirmation cards to remind yourself just how beautiful you are.

Now maybe Bill de B. goes home to Gracie Mansion at night and cries himself to sleep. But we doubt it. According to Chirlane, he’s up late trying to restore heat to a constituent’s apartment in the Bronx.

Here’s to having that same sense of self-worth that Bill de Blasio has.*

*Without having to actually be Bill de Blasio, of course. No one would wish that upon themselves.