Goldie Hawn: The importance of looking at the glass ‘half full’ — even when you’re feeling downbeat

Two glasses of water half full representing two opposite attitudes: optimistic versus pessimistic
Núria Talavera | Moment Open | Getty Images

Looking at life with an optimistic outlook isn't always the easiest thing to do — especially when misfortune strikes. Yet, according to one award-winning actress, it's important to take a moment to look at "the glass half full" during times of turbulence, as it could be better in the long run.

Over the weekend in Dubai, actress and founder of The Hawn Foundation, Goldie Hawn told CNBC that when it comes to happiness and success, you have "a choice to look at the glass half full or the glass half empty."

"And I think that if you change your mind and look at the glass half full, even when you're feeling like ("Winnie the Pooh" character) Eeyore and you change your mind, your brain reacts. And that's interesting," Hawn added.

Speaking at the 2018 World Government Summit, the actress picked up on this renowned expression to highlight how to respond emotionally and mentally in difficult times.

Actress/producer Goldie Hawn, recipient of the Cinema Icon Award, attends the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards
Tibrina Hobson | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

"So if you look at the potential of that glass half full and think about it for a minute. It would change the way your brain fires — and neurons that fire together, wire together," she explained.

"So the more you look at the glass half full, the happier you'll be."

Over the weekend, the actress was in Dubai to highlight the work of her non-profit organization's program "MindUP", a learning and teaching framework which offers support to children across the globe, when it comes to social-emotional learning and mindful awareness.

The World Health Organization estimates that between 10 to 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental illness, with half of all mental disorders starting around the age of 14. The United Nations agency has stated in the past, back in 2001, that one in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point over the course of their life.

On Saturday, the Global Happiness Council (GHC) meantime stated that while mental illness was one of the major sources of unhappiness, reducing it could elevate global happiness levels. In the report, GHC researchers suggested that the net cost of treating mental disorders would be negative.

We need to talk about children and online time

"The net cost (of treatment) is negative. This is because people who are mentally ill become seriously unproductive. So when they are successfully treated, there are substantial gains in output. And these gains exceed the cost of therapy and medication," the study said, with experts estimating that production would be restored by the equivalent of $2.50, for every $1 spent on treating depression — as an example.

Speaking on the topic of mental illness specifically, Hawn told CNBC that the world has "a serious problem" today that it was "almost an epidemic."

"We have to really look at (mental illness), and not be afraid to look at it, in order to mitigate some of these problems and create a stronger emotional stability," Hawn added.

—CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed to this report

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