Do you believe that nothing is as easy at it looks? That everything takes longer than you think? When you see a bunch of roses, do you focus on the thorns? Have you thought that wherever you are is never where it's at? Well, cranky Cathy, it might be time to start being optimistic. Check out that silver lining you've heard so much about and cross over to the sunny side of the street by being optimistic! We realize that being optimistic and wearing rose-colored glasses might not be your thing, but we also know that those who tend to be more optimistic are healthier, more popular, and more successful in whatever they choose to do. Being optimistic is an all-around useful trait. And the good news is that even if your first inclination is to be Negative Nancy, you can learn to teach yourself about being optimistic. First you have to determine if you indeed do prefer the dark side. Pessimistic people tend to describe their problems as permanent; optimistic people see them as temporary. If a pessimist doesn't get called on by her teacher, she may feel the teacher doesn't think much of her. Someone who is being optimistic might think maybe the teacher is preoccupied or didn't see her hand. Studies reveal that teenage girls suffer from an epidemic of gloom and doom. Because they tend to do stuff in groups, they tend to be less than true to themselves if their desires run contrary to their friends. Although some lucky people naturally look at the bright side, for the rest of us being optimistic is a choice, a talent we can decide to practice and improve. This is not to say optimistic people have no cares, it's just that they don't let those cares get them down. If you want to try being optimistic, try: Hooking up with some new friends who share your interests. Explore options for after school activities that challenge and excite you. Art lessons? A book club? Modern dance? Being conscious of talking more positively and being optimistic. Stop complaining. Cut down on the whining. No more "you are right, but..." Leaving your problems behind when you go to sleep. Imagine putting everything that worries you in a jar on a shelf far away from your bedroom. When you wake up, stretch, yawn, hum and slowly get out of bed. Think of a cat. The more refreshed you awaken, the less harried you'll be. Volunteering your time and energy for a good cause. Scientists have documented that those who do good deeds experience being optimistic, or "a volunteer's high" that springs from a sense of personal accomplishment and helping others. Sign up with some friends. So many organizations need you. Exercising. You know how much better you feel after a good work out. It's been documented all that sweaty work ignites a chemical reaction in your body that releases mood-elevating hormones. The fact that you'll look better won't hurt your outlook either. Exercising your mind, through visualization, relaxation techniques and meditation can also soak up some negativity. Just going for it. Trying something new, especially readjusting your attitude, can be scary but if you don't try...well you know, he who demands little, gets it. Remember nothing is quite as bad as it could be. Even if everything s not coming up roses, something will turn up. And jot down the words of the patron saint of optimism, Anne Frank: "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." Learn about being optimistic and love your life with tips from teen girls at BeingGirl.com.