What difference does it really make if you’re an optimistic person? Does it even matter? This month’s newsletter looked at what hope and optimism are but if you’ve spent most of your life being a “glass half empty” type of person, you might think that it doesn’t really make any difference to the outcomes in your life, that it’s just the way some people are. However, research continues to show that there are some key benefits to having hope and an optimistic outlook. Here are our top three.
Hope and optimism have a positive impact on your health, so much so that you are more likely to live a longer life. Those who are optimistic tend to adopt healthier habits and keep themselves in better shape. As a result, they tend to suffer less health issues such as coronary problems.
When something does go wrong, they also tend to cope and adapt better than someone who is pessimistic. Some people mistakenly believe that optimistic people are more likely to put their head in the sand and ignore an issue, pretending everything is fine. But the opposite is actually true. Someone who is hopeful is more likely to take action and try and find solutions thereby increasing the chances of them getting well again.
Optimism doesn’t just have physical health benefits though. It has also been found that they are better able to cope with situations and therefore have lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Hope has also been found to be a crucial element in someone’s level of self esteem.
Those with a hopeful and optimistic outlook enjoy better mental and physical health – isn’t that what we all want for ourselves and our family?
Those with a more positive outlook experience more success. When we looked at the definition of “hope” in the newsletter, we mentioned that some psychologists see it as being able to come up with different pathways to a goal.
A pessimistic person might have a goal and plan how they’re going to get there but lose hope and motivation when things don’t work out how they expected. But someone who’s optimistic will be spurred on to seek other ways to achieve their goal and will have the motivation to keep going. Therefore, they’re more likely to achieve their goals.
Research has also shown that optimists are better able to bounce back from adversity. When things go wrong, they’ll pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back to work on achieving their dreams whereas this can take a pessimist much longer.
It also doesn’t seem to matter what job a hopeful person is doing. They consistently score their satisfaction levels higher. It also seems that they find it easier to find work and are more likely to be promoted. Even their salaries tend to be higher. This could be because they’re proactive in acting on feedback that they receive so they improve. It doesn’t matter if you want to be more successful as a parent or in your career. An optimistic approach will help.
The benefits of being hopeful and optimistic don’t stop there though. Experts have also found that these traits can help you enjoy happier relationships and have more friendships. It can even influence your loved ones and how positive they think and feel. The advantages still appear in studies when only one person in a couple is an optimist.
This could be because of the links to being better able to control emotions. If you have a positive outlook on a situation or the future, you are less likely to feel stressed out and under pressure. In turn, that puts less pressure on your relationships.
If you know that you tend to be pessimistic, you needn’t worry though. It’s possible to train your brain so you can experience more hope and optimism and their associated benefits. We’ll tell you how in our next blog!
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