The Benefits of Optimism
Staying positive can improve stress management, productivity, and your health
Do you know someone who seems to always have a smile and a positive thought? Or are you yourself one of those people who is full of optimism? Hardships are seen as ‘learning experiences’ by optimists, and even the most miserable day always holds the promise for them that ‘tomorrow will probably be better.’
If you always see the brighter side of things, you may feel that you experience more positive events in your life than others, find yourself less stressed, and even enjoy greater health benefits.
The Benefits of Optimism
Studieshave linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.
The styles of sports teams were analyzed and found that the more optimistic teams created more positive synergy and performed better than the pessimistic ones. Research like this has led some companies to go out of their way to hire optimists — a practice that seems to be paying off.
Optimists don’t give up as easily as pessimists, and they are more likely to achieve success because of it. Some optimistic businessmen, like Donald Trump, have been bankrupt (even multiple times), but have been able to persist and turn their failures into millions.
In a study of clinically depressed patients, it was discovered that 12 weeks of cognitive therapy (which involves reframing a person’s thought processes) worked better than drugs, as changes were more long-lasting than a temporary fix. Patients who had this training in optimism had the ability to more effectively handle future setbacks.
In a retrospective study of 34 healthy Hall of Fame baseball players who played between 1900 and 1950, optimists lived significantly longer.
Optimists also tend to experience less stress than pessimists or realists. Because they believe in themselves and their abilities, they expect good things to happen. They see negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome, and view positive events as evidence of further good things to come. Believing in themselves, they also take more risks and create more positive events in their lives.
Additionally, research shows that optimists are more proactive with stress management, favoring approaches that reduce or eliminate stressors and their emotional consequences. Optimists work harder at stress management, so they’re less stressed.