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I read an article that said everyone can develop skills to improve our optimism. As the product of parochial schooling, I confess to being skeptical.

But the one thing I am sure of is that every optimist surrounds themself with positive people.

Mother used to say, “You are only as good as the company you keep.”  If you’re around gloomy people, there’s a good chance you won’t be smiling. I am now making it my mission to dodge negativity. I plan to surround myself with supportive friends who have positive outlooks. As they say, if you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop hanging out with the ducks.

Optimism is a learned habit, and it can be contagious – even during quarantine. Surround yourself with people who can infect you with positivity.  Then, pass your new good mood on to a friend or stranger – let somebody have that parking space, let that person with only a few items cut in front of you at the market.  The simple act of doing something nice for others is actually a good pick-me-up all by itself.

Award-winning author Renee Garrison’s latest book is Anchored Together.