There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too.
Here are just some of the benefits of opting for optimism . . .
Optimists Are Healthier
Optimists not only rate their own health and wellbeing as better, but studies have also confirmed that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists.
A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study of 5000 people found that optimistic adults were twice as likely as their pessimistic counterparts to have optimal heart beat.1
Researchers found that highly optimistic people have a 22% lower chance of developing high blood pressure than pessimists.2
Optimism may reduce your chance of having a heart attack by more than a third.3
Optimists Live Longer
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.4
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.5
Optimists Are Happier
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 cope better with stress, are more resilient in challenging 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 were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than their pessimist counterparts.6
This makes common sense too. No employer wants or rewards an employee with a can’t do attitude! It’s those employees who confidently welcome challenges who excel.
What’s more, every employee experiences critical feedback from their superiors sometimes. Where a pessimist may interpret this as evidence of his failure, reject the criticism outright . . . the optimist views it as an opportunity to improve. As the optimist improves, so does his chance of promotion.
Optimists Are Resilient
Life’s adversities don’t paralyze the optimist like they so often do the pessimist.
It’s not the optimist wears rose-colored glasses and is in denial of life’s negative aspects. Rather, the optimist simply has faith in his own capacity to survive those challenges and come out stronger on the other side.
Conclusion: Optimism Is Rational
Contrary to what some pessimists may believe, it’s the optimist whose viewpoint is the most realistic and rational, precisely because it isn’t lop-sided. The optimist knows that life is filled with both negative and positive events, and nothing good comes from over-emphasize the former while ignoring the latter.
Optimism is, quite simply, the smart way to approach life because it makes you a more effective, happier, healthier human being.
What are your thoughts or experiences with optimism vs pessimism? Comment below!
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