Shopping cart

Practical Optimism: The Art, Science, and Practice of Exceptional Well-Being (Hardcover)

Practical Optimism: The Art, Science, and Practice of Exceptional Well-Being By Sue Varma, M.D. Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


A practical program rooted in optimism to help you live fully and joyfully in an imperfect, turbulent world

As the first medical director and attending psychiatrist at the World Trade Center Mental Health Program, Dr. Sue Varma worked directly with civilian and first-responder survivors in the aftermath of 9/11. There, she met people at every point of the stress and trauma continuum. She saw devastation and stagnancy as much as she saw amazing resilience and growth. She asked herself: how do some people survive, even thrive, despite profound challenges? And how can we optimize the things we have control over, while buffering ourselves from stress?

Through her work with patients and combining philosophy, her own personal experience, and a review of the latest research in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and neuroscience, Dr. Varma discovered that the answer lies in cultivating an optimistic mindset that stays tethered to the real world and helps us make sound and reasonable decisions. This epiphany inspired Practical Optimism, Dr. Varma’s powerful program with eight pillars to help all of us experience a sense of meaning, mastery, and self-acceptance and create lives filled with joy and purpose. Optimists, research has shown, are not just happier and more successful, but physically healthier. And if you’re a natural-born pessimist? No problem: the most vital piece of the Practical Optimism program is that it is a practice, a skillset that we can choose to adopt and get better at every day. 

This book isn’t about magical thinking. Practical optimists are resourceful, realistic, and thoughtful problem solvers who possess something of rare value: the inner resources to cope during a crisis and to use as fuel to flourish. Complete with self-assessment quizzes and exercises, Practical Optimism will help us all see the world for the better and reach our true potential. Practical Optimism is a scientific and tangible pathway to boosting health, happiness, resilience, success, and longevity.

About the Author

Sue Varma, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan, as well as a highly regarded, award-winning national medical contributor for major news outlets. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University (NYU) Langone Health and teaches medical students and residents. Dr. Varma was the first medical director treating first responders and civilians for PTSD, depression, and anxiety at the World Trade Center Mental Health program (WTC MHP) at NYU Langone/Bellevue. She believes that physicians have a duty to not only take their patients from a state of dysfunction to function, but also from functional to optimal.

Praise For…

A Next Big Idea Club Must-Read Book for February 2024

"In Practical Optimism Dr. Varma distills an expansive body of research into clear, relatable, and actionable guidance. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to move from surviving to thriving."
- Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Untangled, Under Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers
“Essential reading, and full of tools to help us move through challenges and embrace the possibility around us. Dr. Sue Varma shows us that practical optimism is a muscle we can build and continue to strengthen—and it can absolutely transform our lives.”
- Judson Brewer, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Unwinding Anxiety
"Practical Optimism beautifully weaves science and art, research and storytelling, theory and practice. Sue Varma provides us with a compass that can help us navigate our complex and demanding reality."  
- Tal Ben Shahar, New York Times bestselling author of Happier
“Sue is as authentic as they come. This book is insightful, smart, and so much cheaper than therapy.”
- Jenny Mollen, New York Times bestselling author of Live Fast Die Hot

“As an Olympic athlete, Practical Optimism appeals to me on so many levels. It doesn’t just try to fix what’s broken but teaches you how to go beyond to cultivate the next level mindset and your own greatness. Inspirational, realistic, achievable, and transformational… whether you are at a crossroads, looking to make small changes, or are reaching for a big goal, this book will help you get there in record time.”
- Tara Lipinski, Olympic gold medalist and broadcaster
“Substantive and powerful. Dr. Sue Varma offers us a science-based, step-by-step framework for finding optimism, even in the most difficult of circumstances. This book goes deeper than resilience -- it's about how to embrace the breaks in life and allow them to lead us to greater beauty.”
- Suneel Gupta, author of Everyday Dharma and Backable
“Sue Varma has given us an approachable and well researched book that integrates the best of science and experience. Given the shortage of mental health professionals this singular and approachable resource a great place to start for many.”
- Kenneth Duckworth, MD, CMO of National Alliance on Mental Illness and author of the national bestseller You Are Not Alone
Practical Optimism is an exceptional guide to moving through the trauma of life and relationships. Deeply wise, and rooted in Dr. Varma’s clinical work, her own personal experience, and the latest research, it is an essential and inspiring resource to help us all build a critical resource: our inner strength.”
- Eric Manheimer, MD, Clinical Professor NYU School of Medicine, writer, producer and author of Twelve Patients

“Get ready to feel inspired as you learn how to overcome obstacles, build genuine relationships, and create a future filled with hope and possibility.” 
- Kimberly Rae Miller, bestselling author of Coming Clean
"Studded with catchy pearls of wisdom ('Our self-worth exists simply because we do'), this can-do guide uplifts."
- Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593418949
ISBN-10: 0593418948
Publisher: Avery
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English