There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too. The benefits of optimism are real – learn what they are, and how you can enjoy the benefits of optimism in your life.
Scientific studies have shown that as you become more optimistic, your life will improve in all sorts of ways. You’re even likely to have a longer life, just from being more hopeful and positive.
And the good news is that you can work toward being more optimistic – it’s not a trait locked in stone!
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What are the Benefits of Optimism?
Among the many benefits of being optimistic are:
Optimists are healthier
Optimists not only rate their own health and well-being as better, but studies have also shown that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists.
In a study of the effects of positive psychological well-being, optimism was found to be the biggest predictor of improved heart health. Optimists also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of developing heart disease.
Optimists live longer
A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that of the 100,000 women studied over eight years, optimists were less likely to die from any cause than women with a more pessimistic outlook.
That was confirmed by a later Harvard study that showed the women who had a positive outlook had a much lower risk (nearly 30% less) of dying from serious illnesses.
Optimists are happier
It might seem obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist.
But, it has been shown that optimists are not just sunnier in their dispositions, but they are measurably happier in their relationships, jobs, and life in general.
They deal better with stress, are more resilient in bad times, and produce less cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to inflammation and a lowered immune system.
Optimists have smoother career paths
Researchers from Duke University found that the optimistic MBA graduates they studied were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than the pessimists in the group.
Optimists also deal better with negative feedback, seeing it as an opportunity to improve and increase their chances of promotion in the future.
Optimists roll with the punches
Life’s adversities do not crush an optimist; they remain hopeful about the future.
Optimism helps you deal with whatever limiting beliefs you have developed and shows you a way out.
Being positive about life’s possibilities means you focus on what you can do. It boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to look for constructive solutions. It stops you feeling stuck or at the mercy of other people.
How Can You Reap the Benefits of Optimism?
Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world:
Identify as an optimist
Self-talk is powerful!
Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it. You’ll forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.
Accentuate the positives
Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you.
Small things like having good food, clean water, and being able to read this article for example.
A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind.
No good comes from comparing yourself to others.
There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, and more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all.
Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful then you can’t be).
Shift your focus
Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking.
Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past and instead enjoy the present and actively look forward to the future.
Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually happen just as often.
Don’t get hung up on one outcome
Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky.
It’s highly likely you will be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out.
An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.
- Positive Mindset: Change the Way You Look at Life
- Can a Positive Attitude Make You Ageless?
- 75 Quotes on the Power of Positive Thinking
Final Thoughts on Science-Backed Benefits of Optimism
Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people.
They are qualities you can change.
You can choose to develop a more positive outlook on life and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!
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