What's your outlook on life? Do you fear the worst or hope for the best? Does it matter? It does. Optimists are healthier and better at coping with difficult jobs. Pessimists, on the other hand, are more resistant to depression: they're prepared for bad news before it arrives.
Read the situations below and vividly imagine yourself in each of them. Choose the response that describes how you think you would react, and check your score at the end of the quiz.
1 / You stop a stranger from jumping off a bridge into a frozen river.
A I was in the right place at the right time.
B I am a hero.

2 / Getting off a plane, you're pulled over at customs and your bags are turned inside out.
A I look like a terrorist.
B This must be a random check.

3 / You visit the Middle East, and wake up to find a riot in front of your hotel.
A Bad things always happen when I leave home.
B Sometimes these things happen.

4 / After months of studying the competitors, you place a winning bet on a local cockfight.
A I have a great eye for betting.
B I took a chance on the right chicken.

5 / Your boyfriend/girlfriend tells you that they need some space for a while.
A I'm too self-centered.
B I don't spend enough time with him/her.

6 / You're on a date, and you step right into a pile of dog shit.
A I'm so clumsy.
B Maybe I can turn this into a funny story.

7 / You discover you've eaten the last Atlantic bluefin tuna in the ocean.
A I'm the cause of environmental collapse.
B It's a shame, but one fish wasn't going to make a difference.

8 / You save your grandmother from choking on a doughnut.
A I know a technique to stop someone from choking.
B I'm good in a crisis.

9 / After a party, 50 people add you as a friend on Facebook.
A I'm a friendly and charming person.
B I was on great form that night.

10 / You miss your mother's birthday.
A I'm not good at remembering dates.
B I was preoccupied.

You are extraordinarily hopeful. The benefits: one study of British civil servants suggests you are less likely to get heart disease and more likely to survive cancer, and a study from the USA finds that if you have a heart attack and find a silver lining to your misfortune, you are less likely to have a second one. But according to another 20-year study, extremely positive people die younger because they underestimate real health risks. So temper your high spirits with caution, if you really want something to look forward to.
Cautious Optimist
You are an optimist most of the time, as are the majority of people. Your optimism makes you slightly delusional and happier and healthier for it, but you are able to be pessimistic when you need to be, too: worries about failure help motivate you to achieve your goals. You're also likely to believe, like most people, that you have more influence over events than you do: in an experiment where people were sat in front of a randomly flashing green light and asked to press a button, most subjects thought their button-pressing had some influence on the light. Only clinically depressed participants saw the truth of the situation.
You are miserably negative. Do not despair, psychologist Martin Seligman's prescription for pessimists is simple: argue with yourself. Insist that disappointments are temporary. Force yourself to believe that positive events are signs that things are good in general. It may sound illogical, but you are being illogical already. Be more hopeful. Unless, that is, you're in prison. Being happy in a prison may require abandoning all hope, thereby neutralizing the painful sense that life could be different. This feeling is most acute at the beginning of sentences (50 percent of suicides in US prisons occur during the first 24 hours of confinement) and at the very end. Be more optimistic, but if you get locked up, give up.