Life is a series of ups and downs. Even on your best day, you can have moments of doubts, insecurities, and sadness.
Now, think back to a time when things were rough. How were you able to get through it? You probably relied on your sense of hope and optimism.
Even if you’re not consciously aware of it, that budding optimism can be your lifeline. It can get you through the bad times unscathed and without losing your core values or your mind, for that matter.
So, what is optimism exactly? Read on to find out.
What Is Optimism?
When you first think of optimism, you probably picture the glass with the water. Optimists see it as half-full, whereas pessimists see it as half-empty.
Yet, it’s not that simple.
Researchers define optimism as ‘the extent to which people hold generalized favorable expectations for their future.’
In other words, being optimistic means that you know that bad times don’t last forever and that good times will follow. They have faith and confidence in themselves and their abilities to bypass the curveballs life throws their way.
They hold themselves accountable for their happiness. Not only that, but they always have a gut feeling that good things will happen.
Are You an Optimist?
Experts believe that optimism is a way of explaining what goes on in their lives. They feel that people are generally hardwired to be more positive and that the cause of any failure or setback is temporary.
Optimists blame external factors for their setbacks rather than blaming themselves. This positive viewpoint allows them to evolve and adapt more quickly in the face of change. They see opportunities where others just see deadlines and barricaded doorways.
That said, being optimistic doesn’t mean you’re just sitting there doing a lot of wishful thinking or living in denial. It just means that you acknowledge when bad things happen, take responsibility, and try to find another way to achieve your goals.
For example, if you’re going in for a job interview. You’re nervous, and your heart is pumping a million beats a minute. But you’ve prepared well for this meeting, and you’re ready.
Now, what happens if you get the job? You come out of that interview feeling you’re on top of the world! That your hard work paid off, and your life is taking a turn for the better.
How about if you don’t get it?
If you’re an optimist, you’ll feel disappointed, maybe even sad for a bit. But then, you’ll realize that you did everything you could to showcase your abilities and skills. So, it must mean that it wasn’t meant to be. And that something will come along that’s better suited for your skillset.
Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the difficulty in every difficulty.”
So, which one are you?
The Benefits of Optimism
Here are a few advantages of being an optimist.
Improves Physical Health
People who have an optimistic mindset are better at managing pain and stress. They also have a stronger immune system, which means their overall health is better than those who aren’t as hopeful.
Another way optimism boosts physical health is that those with a cheerier outlook take proactive measures to keep themselves in good shape. For example, they avoid health-damaging behaviors, like smoking, drugs, or excessive alcohol.
Then, if that weren’t enough, optimists have a 50% lower chance of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. That in itself is enough to make you adopt a positive mindset starting right now!
Boosts Emotional Well-Being
In addition, optimists are more resilient. They hold themselves up to higher standards and lean back on their core values and self-esteem whenever they’re going through a difficult time in their lives.
Having that support and inner strength is what makes optimists better at handling stressful situations. They know what has to be done and go out and do it, rather than staying at home wallowing in sadness.
They know how to turn their negative self-talk into something more positive and productive. Let’s face it: we all have those self-doubting thoughts that nag at us, making us feel not worthy enough or not beautiful enough.
Optimists recognize these thought patterns. They know how to put a stop to them before they start affecting their emotional health and mental well-being.
Motivates You to Fulfill Your Goals
Another fantastic benefit of being optimistic is that you’re not afraid to pursue your dreams. Of course, you feel the fear and the adrenaline of trying something new or putting yourself out there. But, in the end, you jump in knowing that you’re a winner no matter the outcome.
In the end, being optimistic means going through life each day with a mix of hope and reality. Optimists know that life is hard, but they also know that setbacks are temporary. So, they rely on their inner strength and skillset to get them out and onto newer pastures.