Many people hear the words, ‘optimism’ or ‘optimistic’ and associate them with individuals who strive to be happy all the time and are never in a bad mood. Optimism exists on a continuum and being called optimistic does not automatically mean that you are 100% happy all of the time. Optimism, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is ‘the quality of being full of hope and emphasising the good parts of a situation, or it is the belief that something good will happen’. It is a proactive mindset that motivates you to take action and try to make situations better instead of accepting failure or dwelling on the negative.
How does optimism affect happiness?
Numerous studies have shown that being optimistic is positively correlated with happiness. Additionally, optimists are positive thinkers and are more grateful for their accomplishments and experiences. Being proud of yourself and your achievements constantly keep you in a content mood. This positive vibe that optimistic individuals exude also attracts more social support since they tend to be very social and have more friends. They work harder, study harder, stress less and therefore, perform better.
How does optimism affect health?
Aside from helping individuals cope with stress and deal with bad news, an optimistic mindset has also been proven to be beneficial for your health. The following Harvard Health studies are just two of many that have shown that optimism can prolong life and help prevent poor health:
- 309 middle-aged patients who were about to undergo coronary artery bypass surgery completed a psychological evaluation. The patients were monitored for six months after surgery. The data collected showed that the optimists were half as likely to require re-hospitalisation compared to the pessimists.
- In a similar study, 298 angioplasty patients were monitored and the pessimistic patients were found to be about three times more likely to suffer a heart attack than the optimistic ones.
Additionally, other studies have shown that individuals who experience more positive emotions are likely to have lower blood pressure. There are numerous other health benefits that come from having an optimistic mindset such as a stronger immune system, prevention of chronic disease, lower cortisol levels (stress hormone) and much more.
How do I become more optimistic?
- Surround yourself with positivity.
Surrounding yourself with positive and cheerful people will have a tremendous influence on your life. Not only will their positivity be contagious, but they will inspire you to work harder and learn from your mistakes. By observing how they react and respond to difficult situations, you will learn how to have a positive outlook on life. Additionally, they will not be threatened by your success, instead, they will motivate you to be your best self.
- Focus on how you can improve rather than the problem.
When faced with negative situations such as a failed assignment, it is important to focus on methods of improvement instead of accepting failure and dwelling on the negative. Seeing mistakes as opportunities to better yourself is the first step to an optimistic mindset.
- Try to motivate others.
Another way that you can build an optimistic mindset is by motivating others. It can often be much easier to motivate others than it is to motivate yourself. The advice that you give to your peers to motivate or uplift their spirits may be the same advice you turn to when a similar situation arises. Chances are, the same friends that you helped in their time of need will be there to motivate you and keep your optimistic mindset in check.
- Focus on your success.
If you find yourself upset or feeling down about a setback, try to remember previous experiences in which you persevered and how you recovered from them. If you were able to do it once, there is no doubt that you can do it again. Appreciating and celebrating your accomplishments and goals will show you that you have potential and that you will be able to overcome any obstacle in your path.
- Believe in yourself.
The most important thing that you can do to have a more optimistic mindset is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Everyone learns differently and has different views on what constitutes success; everyone’s journey is unique. Give yourself the time that you need and trust that you will succeed in the end. If you believe in yourself and work towards your goals, you will eventually reach them.
Should I be more of an optimist?
Life is not easy, and it most definitely is not fair. You will live a healthier and happy life if you focus on the positive aspects of it and try to improve on your mistakes. At FDM Group, we are driven to succeed in a professional environment and this success is not possible without the optimism and motivation of our employees. We believe that motivating your employees is the first step to succeeding in any work environment.
Want to take your career to the next level? Learn more about how FDM can help jumpstart your career and prepare you to succeed in your first day on a new job.
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