CREATION Life Template: Outlook

By Dr. Joan Ulloth, Nursing Professor

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

When asked about their health, most people think about their physical health. But there is strong evidence that physical health is impacted by our emotional and spiritual condition. Anyone who has experienced nervous stomach butterflies or sweated over the results of an exam will recognize that their emotions created the physical response.

The CREATION Life Study guide presents eight intersecting principles for a healthy life. A positive outlook on life will promote health in many ways as it influences the other aspects of life. Optimists will make more positive choices in nutrition, activity, and entertainment. Optimists will rest better because they can put aside anxieties at the end of the day. Optimists will seek a positive environment, build positive interpersonal relationships, and place their trust in God. (Edgerton)

The apostle Paul recognized the impact of our emotions on physical health when he said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Biblical scholars are not the only people recognizing the impact of a person’s outlook on their life. In her book, Mindset (2016), psychologist Carol Dweck wrote of the importance of life perspective. She found that people with a “growth mindset” had a positive attitude and were much more likely to succeed than people with a “fixed mindset” where they believed that if they did not have an innate ability or talent, they would not be able to develop it. This negative attitude limited their success.

How do we cultivate a positive outlook? Start by implementing positive habits of mind.

1. Look for good in all situations.

A delay in travel, an illness, or an extra expense could all be considered as negative events, but within each event might be found a positive nugget. Perhaps you met someone who brightened your day, but you would not have met except for the unexpected event. This search for good in all situations is like reading a horoscope that says, “You will meet a tall handsome stranger who will give you money.” Suddenly, you are actively looking for this stranger. Finding the positive elements in everyday events can be primed by an expectation that something good will happen.

2. Focus on the positive.

For example, if you know that 89% of students in the country pass an exam you will take, a pessimist will focus on the 11% chance of failure instead of the much larger chance of success. But the optimist will focus on study so they will be part of that much larger group of successful test-takers.

Students with a positive outlook are more successful than those with a negative attitude.  An optimist will prepare for testing with a three-pronged approach that adds making positive statements about success on the exam to the usual practices of deeply studying content and taking many practice questions on the topic. For example, a student might post a note somewhere they will see it often that says, “I CAN DO THIS”, or “I will pass”. This message could also be placed at the top of a scratch paper used during the exam. Sometimes students experience a negative thought during the exam such as, “I am not doing well, I will fail this test.” The student will instantly replace the negative thought with positive thoughts like “That is not true. I have studied. I am prepared.” Positive students routinely avoid pre- and post-test conversations with classmates who talk about which questions they missed and how poor they believe their grades will be. The anxiety that comes from such talk does not help students succeed.

3. Express gratitude.

Saying thank you to an individual for small things places us in a positive mindset. Writing a thank you note is a double blessing because the individual can read the note multiple times, and they know you took the time to write the note.

4. Find a purpose in life and aim for that goal.

As a teen, a friend set the goal of hiking the entire 2,196 miles of the Appalachian Trail as it traverses mountains in 14 states. It has been nearly 40 years, but she never lost the dream. She began actively hiking in 2010 and has steadily hiked sections until now, she is within 300 miles of reaching her goal. Rain, snow, injury, and critters have not stopped her from achieving her dream.

5. Keep a gratitude journal of positive things that happen each day.

Reviewing the positive events of the day can help you relax and maintain a positive outlook for the next day.


Dweck, C.S. (2016). Mindset: The New psychology of success. Ballantine Books.

Edgerton, R. (Ed.).(2021). Creation life: Personal study guide. AdventHealth.


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