The 5 Benefits of Being Optimistic
“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” – Helen Keller
During the normal course of life, we all know there will be difficult days, stressful periods and times where we feel overwhelmed. Amid a global pandemic, the risk of these emotions can become even greater. Although it’s not easy to see the silver linings, having a positive attitude and practicing optimism can help push us through hard times.
Seeing the glass as half full can pay off in several unexpected ways. Here are a few benefits optimism and positivity can bring, even in harsh conditions:
- Optimists have superior health
Keeping a positive mindset has shown to help people cope with disease and recover from surgery. A study done by scientists in Boston, Massachusetts found that the most optimistic people live an average of 11 to 15 percent longer than their pessimistic peers. Women who are optimists are 50 percent more likely to live at least to age 85, while male optimists are 70 percent more likely to live that long.
Having an optimistic outlook can also keep up your emotional well-being. In a study of clinically depressed patients, it was discovered that 12 weeks of cognitive therapy (a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged) worked better than drugs, as the treatment was more long-lasting than a temporary fix.
- Optimists have less stress
Optimists also tend to experience less stress and anxiety than pessimists or realists. Researchers at Concordia University’s Department of Psychology have found that “the stress hormone” cortisol tends to be more stable in people with a positive outlook. Optimists are more proactive with stress management, favoring approaches that reduce stressors and their emotional outcomes.
- Optimists bounce back faster
Optimistic people see negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome and positive events as further good things to come. They allow themselves to temporarily step away from moments that are bringing them down or causing them pain and shift their mindset to put them on a more productive path.
- Optimists have more persistence
Optimists don’t give up as easily as pessimists and are more likely to achieve success because of it. People who are happy, successful and hopeful know that, no matter what happens, life still goes on and they can choose to focus on things that empower them. They refuse to let unexpected incidences derail them from their goals and dreams.
- Optimists spread joy
The best way to turn your day around is to help someone else turn their day around. Doing something nice for someone boosts our happiness as well as theirs. Keeping this cycle of joy going in the world is one of the most important things we can do in trying times.
You can’t stop life from throwing things your way. You can’t stop the unexpected from interfering with your plans and goals. But you can choose how you respond. Practice switching to a healthier state of mind when unwanted things happen. Even if you can only be in a positive mindset for a few moments it can have a profound effect on how you cope with life’s many hurdles and keep you on a path of health, success and happiness.