You’ve obviously heard about optimism, the ability of some people to view the future positively. For optimists, every trial in life is a lesson to be learned, and even in the harshest of circumstances, they have hope that tomorrow will be better. Conversely, pessimists fear the future and are afraid of the countless things that could go wrong. They struggle to preserve the few pleasant things they have today.
Between optimism and pessimism
Although both optimists and pessimists seek to be happy in their own way, their approaches to life produce completely opposite results. On the one hand the optimist thinks that the world is full of positive experiences temporarily interspersed with negative ones, and that it is better to focus on what they can achieve in the future.
On the other hand, the pessimist feels threatened by the world around him, he thinks that he should spend more time defusing possible negative situations in the future, rather than focusing on the meager pleasant events that may occur in everyday life.
A pessimist tends to ask himself these questions:
- “Why did this happen to me?”
- “Why do issues appear to me all the time?”
An optimist tends to ask himself questions that open up new perspectives:
- “Is there at least one advantageous factor approximately this case”
- “What can I learn from this situation?”
- “What action can i do today to start resolving this situation?”
Another important difference is that the optimist does not blame himself for the difficulties he is experiencing, if he is not the cause of them. The pessimist blames himself for all negative events no matter where they come from, and believes that pleasant events happen by chance in his life.
The 4 Benefits of Optimism
Today, after countless researches, it has been established that being optimistic brings a certain amount of benefits. We all experience ups and downs in our lives, but having an optimistic outlook has an immense positive effect on our quality of life, as well as our mental and physical well-being.
Here are 4 important benefits of optimism:
1. Being optimistic allows you to live longer.
Being optimistic allows you to live longer (11 to 15% longer) because optimists are less affected by high blood pressure, heart problems and even cancer. They are also more likely to exercise, sleep better and avoid harmful behaviours (such as smoking). Their mortality rate is much lower than the general population, so they are more likely to live to age 85 or older.
Even more surprisingly, this longevity is independent of important factors such as socio-economic level, pre-existing health problems, social integration and depression.
Pessimists, on the contrary, tend to be more fatalistic, imagining their health problems as an irrevocable sentence. Optimists may recognize the severity of their health condition but will take steps not to let it affect their quality of life.
2. Being optimistic allows you to have a fuller love life.
Optimists have richer and longer love lives, in keeping with stanford college. Interestingly, these results are replicated even when only one of the couple is optimistic. The optimist tends to be more supportive of his or her half, which avoids the sense of unfairness and the feeling of having to deal with everything that can be felt in the relationship.
Even in discord, optimists and their halves are convinced that the other is committed to improving the situation, which leads to better conflict resolution. There may be additionally other research that shows that the extra we idealize our spouses, the happier we are in our relationships
Because optimism is contagious, optimists can even make their half more optimistic and enjoy the same positive effects on their health and overall quality of life as they do.
3. Being optimistic will bring you success
Optimists tend to be more resilient in their daily lives. At work, even if their supervisor does not recognize the quality of their work, optimists are able to bounce back and continue to perform at their best. Optimists have better job security than the pessimists, consistent with a current observe This, in turn, contributes to the optimism of these same employees.
In fact, people who feel optimistic about their careers tend to feel more satisfied with their jobs and perform better on the job. There are several possible reasons for this. These include the fact that optimists are seen as more charismatic, are more likely to persevere until their goal is achieved, and are more likely to be able to get past a poor result.
Optemistic managers are also more effective at assisting others enhance their productivity and obtain their goals.
4. Being optimistic makes you healthier
People who feel globally happy in their lives — a state of mind that is linked to optimism — have a stronger immune system and heal faster than others. Research also shows that by teaching people to identify and enjoy positive experiences, depression, physical symptoms and insomnia problems are reduced in as little as eight weeks.
Overall, optimists get sick less often and complete their recovery faster.
How to become more optimistic?
According to psychology researcher Martin Seligman, optimism can be learned. Even if you tended to see life in the dark, you can gradually change your outlook and reap the benefits of optimism. Here are some key tips to help you do so.
1. Learn to accept your emotions
We all have good things and moments in life, being optimistic doesn’t mean you have to be “happy” all the time. Rather, it is about using the full range of emotions you have, accepting that negative as well as positive feelings are natural and part of the experience of life.
Suppressing certain types of emotions can only lead to frustration and apathy in return. By not favoring one emotion over another, you will help you become more flexible and resilient in times of adversity. So instead of blaming yourself for certain events, observe your emotions.
What happened, what emotion did you feel and what was your behaviour? Maybe someone disrespected you or cut you off on the road, made you feel angry and you lost your temper. Take a step back and find the trigger for that emotion, and how could you have reacted otherwise? Maybe you were already stressed out from your day and it was the last straw, or maybe you were thinking about other unpleasant things beforehand.
Staying focused on the present moment is key to being optimistic, as it allows you to feel the emotions of the moment without judging them. Often we try to fight our feelings, or we are so immersed in our emotions that we forget that we have the ability to manage them.
Focus on your breathing and your feelings, understand what these emotions want to tell you about the situation you are experiencing. In the same vein, meditation (just a few minutes a day) can help you better manage feelings of anxiety and depression, it reprograms the way your body responds to stress.
2. Learn how to manage your thoughts
Notice whether your inner monologue is optimistic or rather pessimistic. Our inner monologue is a good indicator of how we see the world. Throughout the day, observe whether certain types of thoughts appear regularly.
These include thoughts that amplify the negative aspects of a situation by obscuring the positive, times when you blame yourself or anticipate the worst. Also note the times when you think in an all-or-nothing mode (all good or all bad).
It is important to readjust this inner dialogue by focusing on the positive aspects of your life. This is one of the steps in developing your optimism. Focus your attention on the positive points about yourself and the world around you in each situation. It is not a matter of thinking that nothing bad can happen but that you are able to overcome them with a little effort.
You can help yourself with positive affirmations that you will hang in places you pass by often (bathroom, on the computer, refrigerator, etc.).
Avoid comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to be envious, but this often leads to ruminating about negative thoughts. Therefore, it is important to practice gratitude. Mentally thank the people who have supported you in your life, or tell them in person. Also take the time to take a look at the benefits you enjoy today, your health, your finances, your relationships, everything that is pleasant in your life.
We tend to take for granted all the positive things we experience. But just imagine for a few minutes what your life would be like if you found yourself alone and without anything on a desert island. Your current state of life is made up of happy events that might never have happened.
All the positive things we experience only add to the countless benefits we enjoy today, and all the negative things we experience don’t take away the other positives.
3. Learn to change your vision
Even if we cannot change what has happened, especially the trials and difficulties of life, we can change the way we see them. We can either feel sorry for ourselves and focus on our wounds, or we can look at what we learned from it, what we became after going through it.
Rather than announcing: “what if i can not do it?”, You could say, “that is a chance to strive some thing new! Many times, we find it difficult to project ourselves into a situation objectively, without exaggerating the flaws or imagining the worst. That’s why instead of worrying about an upcoming event, make a list of possible positive outcomes that could await you.
Respond to each concern with positive thinking. For example, if you think about this meeting with those people you don’t like, think about the other people you like and might meet.
Accept the circumstances as they are, don’t try to label the events you are experiencing as “good” or “bad”, and don’t try to resist with all your might to change them when it is not possible. The unpleasantness you experience will eventually fade over time, don’t let it lock you into defeatism. Remember that the only person you can change is yourself, not others. Let go.
4. Learn to interact positively
Be positive in your interactions with others. Remember, optimism is contagious. Showing compassion and positivity will encourage others to respond in the same way. A simple smile can make the difference between a gloomy day and a pleasant one.
Spend time with friends and family with whom you get along well. Pessimism feeds a lot on isolation and loneliness. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Everyone has the right to their own ideas and visions, but if other people’s attitudes are starting to impact you negatively, then it’s time to let go.
We are all susceptible to “emotional contagion”, which means that the emotions and attitudes of those around us affect what we feel within ourselves. That stated, optimism must now not be confused with extroversion. It’s not about spending your time interacting with others constantly, but simply taking advantage of opportunities to spend time with someone and bring each other a little cheerfulness.
The surroundings has a first-rate have an effect on for your temper. Disengage from well-known sources of negativity like television, especially if you spend your time watching the bad news of the day on the news. You have got better activities along with your time. Also be sure to moderate your use of social networks, as they also promote depression and jealousy.
The final word
Changing glasses to see the world differently takes time, especially if you used to focus on the negative aspects. Luckily, optimism is a virtuous circle, the more you think and act with a focus on the good side of things, the more optimism becomes second nature to you.