Five chances to win a copy of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain

This competition is now closed and the five winners have been contacted. Thank you for all your entries. 

We’ve got five copies to give away of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain by Professor Elaine Fox, kindly provided to us by William Heinemann. Here’s what the publishers say about the book: 

Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Glass half-full or half-empty? Do you look on the bright side or turn towards the dark? These are easy questions for most of us to answer, because our personality types are hard-wired into our brains. As pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Elaine Fox has discovered, our outlook on life reflects our primal inclination to seek pleasure or avoid danger-inclinations that, in many people, are healthily balanced. But when our ‘fear brain’ or ‘pleasure brain’ is too strong, the results can be disastrous, as those of us suffering from debilitating shyness, addiction, depression, or anxiety know all too well.

Drawing on her own cutting-edge research, Fox shows how we can retrain our brains to brighten our lives and learn to flourish. With keen insights into how genes, life experiences and cognitive processes interleave together to make us who we are, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain revolutionises our basic concept of individuality. We learn that we can influence our own personalities, and that our lives are only as ‘sunny’ or as ‘rainy’ as we allow them to be.

For a chance to win a copy, please post a comment to this blog entry telling us why you’re optimistic about the future (please leave an email address). We’ll pick five winners at random next Friday. Good luck!

48 thoughts on “Five chances to win a copy of Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain”

  1. I'm optimistic because I make myself! Being pessimistic only makes one experience everything as more bitter, it's like a filter all things go through. Thinking positive opens opportunities, makes you more likely to meet people and have conversations that might lead to take new actions. Positive actions can trigger growth. So I know I can improve my life by being as positive as I can (it's not always easy, as I'm a realist)… So I make myself!

  2. Naturally i'm more inclined to be pessimistic than optimistic but that is why I am optimistic. I choose to be, rather than wallow in my own doubts and disbeliefs. Richard Davidson noted that our brains show different areas of activity for happiness and unhappiness and with that certain people are more inclined with a genetic predisposition of either or. I find that focusing on being optimistic makes life more enriching and rewarding and just like Davidson I believe it's a choice you make rather than something you live with and i choose to optimism 🙂

  3. I'm optimisitic about the future because I now have a chance to win a book.

    -Minh (

  4. Unfortunately my brain seems to be biased towards the negative, the outcome being a rather pessimistic outlook. Having suffered with depression in the past, I wondered about the connection between this and other anxiety disorders and having a glass half empty brain…! Classic examples are 'there's no point trying i'm not qualified (jobs) it's too far and the weathers's awful and we'll have to cue (hols) they probably think I'm awful…(other people). So, my genius plan has been to end up with a boyfriend and close friends that are optimism personified, who keep me in check and make sure that my pessamism doesn't get out of hand. Actually it was no plan, I'm just incredibly lucky!

  5. I'm optimistic because it is, for me, a kind of coping strategy. Being optimistic reduces anxiety, increases motivation, drives my energy and helps me to focus on what is really important (what to do to acheive my goals). I agree with Juliette Massey-Smith, optimism opens the way to opportunities… as it sometimes may help winning interesting books 😉

  6. I'm definitely in the optimists' camp. It makes life a lot easier and pleasurable. I too believe that it is for a large part a choice you can make, however, the pessimists among us probably won't feel that way!

    I think being an optimist has the advantage of not only being good at recognising the positive things that are happening to you, but also that actual optimistic behaviour contributes to good things happening to you. For example, smiley, optimistic people may be a joy to be around, which can make friendships and job opportunities happen more easily. Being an optimist contributes to feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

  7. With all the randomness of human past, present, and future, one can never know what awaits them in the next hour, not to mention the next day. With this in mind, being optimistic is… a mere calculation. I bet on better future, because one cannot win with randomness and the return to entropy — so why not face it with enthusiasm. In the end, each of us is doomed, so let's spend the remaining days in good humor. Which is usually more productive, too!


  8. I'm optimistic because this year I complete my degree in Psychology; which has been my target since AS levels. After that I'm not sure what's going to happen, maybe the opportunity to gain a dream job or even further qualifications, who knows?… I certainly don't and that's what keeps me motivated and my life interesting.

  9. why im optimistic? every day i sing that monty python song always look on the bright side of life check it out on youtube it contains the sum total of all you need to know about life ….. he he 🙂

  10. I consider myself more of a realist than either optimist or pessimist. Being the 'black sheep', I always say that as there are no (or low) expectations of me, I can always surpass them and, thus, I am optimistic of beating expectations!

    In life whatever will happen will happen, and I am always optimistic that in the end something will happen and something will turn up (be it job, friends, family, leisure).

  11. I am by nature optimistic, but I also waste a lot of time on self-doubt.

    So, I try to catch those put-down thoughts before they start paralysing me!

    I believe we are (unintentionally) programmed from birth.

    Sometimes this conditioning is past its sell-by date. It is not necessary and is perhaps self-destructive – but is still controlling us.

    It is good to notice our thoughts and ask: is this what I really think?

    This way we can really develop our full potential and be the person we want to be.

    I am not saying it is easy. Or quick! But it is very rewarding.

    elisabeth.winkler AT

  12. I am optimistic because I have stopped feeling like things have to perfect. It's OK if they're just good enough sometimes.

  13. I'm optimistic because I've just finished my psychology degree and am due to start a forensic psychology masters in September. I'm doing what I want to do and believe in myself.

  14. First, I love the title of this book:) “Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain” – just makes me smile.

    I am not particularly naturally optimistic. I worry about thing happening and often tend to embrace the “worst case” scenario. I have been called a “Gloomy Gus” by someone close to me and I know it's more accurate than I would like.

    However, as I reflect over my life, I find that optimism does underlay most of my experiences. I think we all have a default position, but I am not convinced that our default is our strength position.

    While I worry on the surface and around the daily or routine “slings of fate”, I also have a deep and abiding faith in myself, my family, and the basic goodness of people.

    Interestingly enough, in work and collaborative settings, I am usually described as “genial”, cooperative, and even “chipper”:).

    It's an interesting combination of contradictions, but what the heck … works for me.

    Thanks for the opportunity o reflect some on this.


  15. What would be a good reason to be pesimistic? I can't see such. It is true that optimistic people sometimes make poorer choices (e.g. not fasting their seatbelts) but life without optimism not allow one to flourish. If I was not be an optimistic I would not DREAM BIG, and would not fight in the aim of realizing my hopes, because one needs to believe that future has a bright side to offer 🙂
    natalia@kominiarczuk dot com

  16. I am optimistic about the future after seeing the inspiring dedication, motivation, team spirit and pride of our athletes during the olympics this year. I am looking forward to seeing what level of impact this has on the lifestyles and motivation of our current and future generations.

  17. I am optimistic about the future because “the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades”, what a great song 🙂 But really, I am happily married with 4 beautiful kids. I have a career that I thoroughly enjoy. I can effectively balance work and family to make sure both receive due diligence. I don't make an absorbent amount of money but live very happily off of what I am able to bring home. I live just outside of Yellowstone National Park and make sure to take in the sights and sounds of where I live on a regular basis. In addition to all of this, I posted this message so I now have the opportunity to win a free book on a great topic. Something that I will surely share with my family 🙂

  18. I am a “realist” which means a pessimist who is high on hope. Without hope, we have nothing! And besides, I know it's better to be optimistic – I read the science!

  19. I just finished an Alan Watts' “The Wisdom of Insecurity” and therefore I'm not sure if I should be thinking about the future at all. According to Watts, there is neither past nor future. There is only now. And an undivided mind does not consider the goodness or badness that is coming in this unattainable future.

    In any case, I really look forward to reading your book.


  20. I s'pose I'm optimistic about my future because I'm actively working to improve my thought processes and approach to life. lt at cormorantbay dot com

  21. Sounds like an awesome read! I've always been optimistic. Everything I look at that is man-made was invented by a fellow human who had a vision to help alleviate a problem. I see possibilities where a pessimist would remain blind. I'd love to win a copy of this book! You can email me at oceana_thirst at hotmail dot com

  22. I'm an optimist because it makes no sense being pessimistic. Nothing is totally good or bad, everything has both good and bad parts. It all depends on what you are willing to see, and I think that looking at the good part of things allows you to enhance it. That's why I'm an optimistic.

  23. I'm optimistic about the future only because I believe there is one thing in life that I absolutely love doing and that is studying Psychology. I have set great high hopes for myself even though I have endured a lot of trouble on the way and I still am. I have depression and many other things but that does not mean I cannot continue being positive about the future. The future is still a quite struggle for me but I hope to overcome this by becoming a great Psychologist.

  24. its simple cos your a woman. unless you would had suffered it to the most.

  25. I force myself to behave positively – because I don't wanna' bring others down. But my natural tendency is to see all of the darkest sides of everything.Even when things turn out well – I feel like it is some cosmic trick and I'm secretly waiting for the other shoe to drop. People who know me however would likely describe me as upbeat and optimistic.
    When alot of bad things have happened to you in life – I think expecting the worst is a type of mental preparation for the next difficulty.
    But – I can fake “happy” really well.
    We are trained to cope with the bad and sad and hard times – but nothing can prepare you for the empty monotony – the boredom and the loneliness… the pain of watching your life slip away while you were just trying your best to make it from one day to the next.

  26. At the moment I'm a cautious-optimist: I've got a psychology degree under my belt, am building up some good clinical experience and have recently fulfilled my dream of moving to london. So I'm always reminding myself that the future is bright but even so, I find myself held back by those 'what if' moments. I'm sure a litte brain retraining will go a long way in keeping those 'sunny showers' at bay! (

  27. I think I grew up in a fairly pessimistic home environment (worrying, focusing on things that have gone wrong) and I seem to have made a subconscious decision not to accept those thought patterns probably as a coping mechanism and way to deal with setbacks and stay happy for longer.
    I realise I am more of an optimist when I see the contrast to my glass half-empty partner who knowingly prepares himself for the “worse case scenario”!

    Am very happy to see my 3 year old daughter developing a very positive outlook and would love to learn how I can encourage this further. After having a little cry after falling over or stubbing her toe she'll sunnily announce “it'll be better in the morning!”.

  28. I think there's a danger in pioneering future oriented optimism. If we're always waiting to be happy in the future then we miss out on the present.

    With success for example, it's as if we've all be tricked into believing that we have to be successful in the present to be happy in the future. Stress and anxiety (when uncontrolled) are debilitation forces, but we accept unnecessarily high amounts if we think we'll be happier after all of the grafting.

    Though it's easier said than done, being happy and optimistic in the present is likely to be much more advantageous.


  29. I am pessamistic because experience has shown me that being thus inclined avoids dissapointment and can only result in pleasant surprises when things go right.

  30. I am pessamistic because experience has shown me that being thus inclined avoids dissapointment and can sometimes lead to pleasant surprises when thing go right.


  31. Im optimistic about the future because life can change in an instant and as.bad as things sometimes get they can equally get better when we least expect

  32. my mother
    Nature and grace of her name
    spent 13 700
    to conceiving me

    So who admires if
    (what are the right words ?)
    I 'am a masterpiece?

    So who admires if
    (in the long run)
    I' am optimistic?

    So who admires if
    (in the short run)
    I' am pessimistic?

    my mother
    Nature and grace of her name
    spent 13 700
    to conceiving me

    she knows what is doing
    if something is going wrong
    she has enough time
    to solve the problem.

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