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Experts claim that the real difference between optimists and pessimists isn’t in their level of happiness or in how they perceive a situation, but in how they cope.
“Optimism is a mindset that enables people to view the world, other people and events in the most favourable, positive light possible. Some people describe this as the ‘half glass full’ mentality,” says Dr. Aparna Iyer, psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “Optimists do acknowledge negative events, but they are more likely to avoid blaming themselves for the bad outcome, inclined to view the situation as a temporary one and likely to expect further positive events in the future.”
Research has shown that optimism is correlated with many positive life outcomes including increased life expectancy, general health, better mental health, increased success in sports and work, greater recovery rates from heart operations and better coping strategies when faced with adversity.
The good news? Optimism can be learned, developed and increased at any age!
Reporting in 2019 on the link between longevity and optimism, Professor Lewina Lee said “We know that optimism is about 25% heritable, which means that there is room to modify it.”
For parents and parenting, the writer Meghan Moravcik Walbert put it well, “A person may be naturally inclined to be either pessimistic or optimistic, but there are things parents can do to encourage and strengthen the optimism muscles in their kids (and themselves).”
Exercises and practices which increase and maintain optimism include expressing gratitude, using more positive language and focusing on sharing happiness. Accepting uncertainty is a useful way of diminishing anxiety and becoming more optimistic.
Practising meditation, yoga, exercise and spending time in beautiful places also enhance a feeling of optimism.
Choose your company wisely: Surround yourself with positive people.
Turn down the news! Listen or watch it no more than once a day.
The science of neuroplasticity shows that our brains constantly make new connections, and we strengthen positive neural networks by looking for the positives in life and by deliberately cultivating optimistic thoughts and words.
If optimistic, you will feel healthier. An optimistic spirit can bring significant benefits, including happiness, joy, active longevity, better health including lower risks of cardiovascular disease, better sleep, greater resilience, stronger relationships and increased self-mastery.
A recent OECD Study on Social and Emotional Skills in schools found, “Emotional stability skills are found to be the most predictive of mental health. Optimism has the highest relation to life satisfaction scores"
Optimism may help you live longer.
The Habits of an Optimist Course focuses on the life habits that you can adopt to make you feel more optimistic and lighter and brighter in your daily life.
Yes – you can learn to be more optimistic!
The habits of an optimist are identified as:
• Smiling more often
• Laughing daily
• Ask yourself – what makes you Optimistic?
• Think like an Optimist
• Ask others what makes them Optimistic?
• Daydream like an Optimist?
• Use the language of an Optimist
• Use positive affirmations like an Optimist
• Surround yourself with Optimists
• Regulate your news like an Optimist
• Share Stories of Hope and Optimism
• Forgive like an Optimist
• Show Gratitude like an Optimist
• Innovate and learn like an Optimist
See our below Intro Video and the link to Project Optimism!
Have a try – it’s a free resource.