There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too. Scientific studies have shown that as you become more optimistic, your life will improve in all sorts of ways. You’re even likely to have a longer life, just from being more hopeful and positive.
Optimists not only rate their own health and well-being as better, but studies have also shown that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists. In a study of the effects of positive psychological well-being, optimism was found to be the biggest predictor of improved heart health. Optimists also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of developing heart disease.
A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that of the 100,000 women studied over eight years, optimists were less likely to die from any cause than women with a more pessimistic outlook. That was confirmed by a later Harvard study that showed the women who had a positive outlook had a much lower risk (nearly 30% less) of dying from serious illnesses.
It might seem obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist. But, it has been shown that optimists are not just sunnier in their dispositions, but they are measurably happier in their relationships, jobs, and life in general. They deal better with stress, are more resilient in bad times, and produce less cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to inflammation and a lowered immune system.
Researchers from Duke University found that the optimistic MBA graduates they studied were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than the pessimists in the group. Optimists also deal better with negative feedback, seeing it as an opportunity to improve and increase their chances of promotion in the future.
Life’s adversities do not crush an optimist; they remain hopeful about the future. Optimism helps you deal with whatever limiting beliefs you have developed and shows you a way out. Being positive about life’s possibilities means you focus on what you can do. It boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to look for constructive solutions. It stops you feeling stuck or at the mercy of other people. If you’re optimistic, you know you can do it!
You might be surprised to hear that optimism is not an innate quality. Optimism and pessimism are ways of looking at yourself and the world through a positive or negative filter. Once you think of them as reflections of your mindset, it becomes much easier to believe you can change. Like any new behavior, you need to practice every day for it to become a habit. Try these six suggestions to cultivate your optimism every day.
Journaling or keeping a diary allows you to process events and get a different perspective on them. It encourages self-reflection and captures insights into your thinking and behavior. You can write down what happened during your day and document, not just the bald facts but how you did it, what you did to make it happen, and what you did right. And, importantly, how it felt while you were doing it. Don’t just record the good things (a promotion, a presentation, or a meeting that went well), remember to write down the thing that didn’t go so well and reflect on what happened, how you dealt with it, and what you might do differently next time.
Consciously notice the funny side of things and write them down. If the technology didn’t work, and you had to give the presentation without the slide deck, or the power went out, or there was a fire drill in the middle of your crucial meeting. What can seem like a disaster at the time can also be looked back on as a comedy of errors.
Write a letter or a journal entry that sets out the future you want. What job are you doing? Are you running your own business? What have you learned? What has changed? Imagining how your future life looks and feels can be a powerful motivator.
Have a page in your journal where you note down kind gestures. Write down when you are kind to someone, or when someone is kind to you. Even little things count, like opening a door for someone or letting them go first in the line for coffee. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.
Write a letter or email, phone or visit someone (a person outside your family) who has been genuinely kind to you. Tell them how much you appreciate what they did or said and how it has affected your life.
Make the positive choice to develop and maintain an optimistic outlook. Do this every morning when you wake up. Decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone will have some level of suffering in their life. Choosing to be optimistic will make it easier to bounce back from the bad times and to enjoy and be certain of the good times.
Optimism is a learned skill like any other skill or habit you want to develop. Having an optimistic attitude toward yourself, life and the world can have a huge impact on your mental well-being and resilience, even boosting your immune system and lowering your blood pressure. Studies have shown that optimists have better career prospects and live longer happier lives.
Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world.
Self-talk is powerful! Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it, and forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.
Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you. Small things like having good food, clean water, and being able to read this article for example. A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind.
No good comes from comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, and more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all. Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful then you can’t be).
Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking. Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past and instead enjoying the present and actively looking forward to the future. Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually happen just as often.
Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, and it’s highly likely you will be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out. An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.
Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people. They are qualities you can change. You can choose to develop a more positive outlook on life and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!
Being optimistic can have a huge impact on our self-esteem. An empowering boudoir session is a great way to practice being optimistic and boost self-esteem. During the session, you will get to see yourself through a new lens – one of strength and beauty. The experience will remind you of your worth and inspire you to continue believing in yourself throughout all of life’s ups and downs. So step out of your comfort zone and allow yourself to embrace the power of an empowering boudoir session. The result will be a newfound appreciation for yourself and your body that will stay with you for years to come.