What’s this fuss among people nowadays to be optimistic?
What good will you gain?
I once asked this friend of mine, why is it that she is always so hopeful about the future being so dreamy and amazing?
She said, “it’s simple…
Hope and Fear are two sides of the same coin, the future.
So if you toss this coin, you are likely to either get:
So you are always likely to have two reactions to your future,
The first one, will either be hopeful, that is positive,
- I hope that my kids love this new recipe I tried for them!
Or second one, ie, you are likely to fear the future outcome.
- What if my kids don’t like my recipe? What if I mess it up?
It is true, if you believe that your future is likely to get you positive outcomes, you shall achieve it.”
This is more likely to promote a healthy self-dialogue and is also an appropriate expectation from the future.
It is called being optimistic.
So what does being optimistic mean?
Optimism is the belief that the future is going to give fruitful results.
Having confidence that the future is going to give out positive outcomes makes people likely to make decisions that make them feel happy or content with themselves.
Being optimistic is thus the practice of indulging in positive thinking, i.e. thinking that is more solution-focused and makes you appreciate the hard work you put in, and when you see that you have not achieved the required results you dust yourself off and start again.
As the proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”
But then how is it beneficial?
Being Optimism makes you a healthier being
In a survey conducted by Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, he found that optimists are more likely to have a healthy sense of well being, are less likely to get sick or depressed and sad than their pessimist halves.
Studies conducted by scientists have found that being optimistic promotes a healthy life and also guarantees a longer life.
It makes you feel happy about the things you did, the decision you took.
You are less likely to sulk or pout over random trivial mistakes of the past.
Research has found that men who lead their lives with a positive outlook were more likely to not only be healthy and not experience any cardiovascular difficulties but also had lowered levels of blood pressure even after four years after the initial test.
Optimism is the fuel that runs the show
Being optimistic has also been seen to have a direct effect on your psychological, physical, and overall well-being.
Think of your thoughts as the fuel to your vehicle, ie your mind, body, and soul.
If you fill this vehicle with pure, positive thoughts which are free of any hazardous, self-loathing, depreciating thoughts, your vehicle will only not run smoothly but also guarantees its longevity.
Apart from this, you are rest assured that with a few breaks and servicing at regular intervals, your car is again ready to face the roads.
Now, what happens to the vehicle that has been filled with negativity?
Have you ever seen a car that constantly needs servicing, whose engine is faulty, the battery is constantly low, and often stops working after running for a few miles?
This is exactly how a person who has surrounded themselves with negative energy would function too.
Optimism and recovery
Optimists are more likely to bounce back from any adversity much quicker and find new and novel ways for any problem.
They are also more prone to view any bad situation as temporary which will wander off if they keep their head high and spirit higher.
The research was conducted on Chinese students, in 2011, following a disaster found that there was a positive relationship between optimism and not experiencing symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety or experiencing flashbacks, anger outbursts, etc.
Whereas the pessimists were more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD at a greater frequency that persisted over time.
Being optimistic makes you a better human.
As Oscar Wilde correctly said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
This is especially true in the case of this ongoing Pandemic,
Some of us cannot stop cribbing about how much this pandemic is making our lives miserable, how we cannot seem to get out of it,
Whereas there are some, who have taken this setback in stride and have worked their way along with it.
Thus, as you can see, optimism has been linked with positive emotions such as feeling more appreciative towards one’s life.
If one is more appreciative towards one’s self and thoughts, there is a higher chance that you will also appreciate the efforts and hard work of others.
As it is said, if you are grateful about the present moment, are mindful about your actions, and are open to experiencing new experiences in life, then my friend you have become a wiser human being.
So how are optimists and pessimists, different?
According to Seligman, the difference between the way a pessimist deals with any negative situation or an optimist too is the way they explain it to themselves.
He called them explanatory styles.
Here, he mentions the concepts of personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence.
Is the problem something that I caused?- Internal
Or did external factors influence it?- External
Will the problem persist over time? -long Lasting/ unchangeable
Is it rather temporary and its effects won’t last that long? -Temporary/ changeable
Will this problem affect all areas of my life? – Global
Will it only affect a part of my life? – Limited/ local
According to Seligman, optimists were more likely to view the negative situation as more temporary and something that would not affect all the aspects of their life.
They were also likely to come up with better solutions to deal with the negative situation than sit and crib about it.
It has been found that every time something good happens to them they are more likely to view this situation as something they did, something that would also last for a long time, and lastly, this happiness was likely to make them act even more optimistically in all the areas of their lives
Whereas a pessimist who has been challenged with adversity is more prone to view it as something he/ she gave rise to, ie, “Maybe it happened because I did something”.
They will also carry this belief that the negative situation will influence all the aspects of their lives.
Lastly, if something good happens with them, they will see it more as something that will not last that long and it is also something that the environment played a role in.