What are the health advantages of optimism and how do adopt an optimistic approach to life? Here are 11 facts about it.
1. Optimism is the belief that things will work out in the best possible manner. Optimists tend to believe that they will successfully overcome obstacles in their way and achieve their goals. For example; optimists under-estimate their risk of getting sick and over-estimate their chance to get better.
2. Optimists believe that failure is caused by passing, specific and external reasons whereas the pessimist will mostly claim what happened was his own fault.
3. Many extensive studies show that optimists tend to deal better with pressurized situations, recover more quickly from acute medical events and adjust better to chronic illness. After a bypass or biopsy, optimists heal faster, have lower risk of being re-hospitalized and have less psychological stress when undergoing fertility treatment.
4. One study shows that the measuring of heart and vascular function of optimists was found to be better than non-optimists or pessimists. This study, which included measuring 5100 people’s blood pressure, weight, height, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, revealed that the optimists were 76% more likely to have good measurements.
5. Another study shows that people with a positive life outlook had a healthier heart and immune system, a higher tolerance to pain and recovered more quickly from cancer. Researchers in Ben-Gurion University found that optimistic women had lower risk of breast cancer and women that went through trauma had a risk tens of percentage points higher.
6. More than that, in a long term study which included 900 seniors found that the higher their optimism was the lower the chance was that they would die within the next ten years. The impact optimism has on physical health is especially strong and is considered equal to the benefit of stopping to smoke cigarettes.
Okay, I’m convinced. Now how can I adopt an optimistic approach to life?
7. Recognizing the good– Are you aware of the good things in your life? Write up a list and identify all the positive things in all your various circles of life. Give thanks and share your experience with your friends.
8. Make lemons into lemonade– Negative experiences are an inseparable part of our lives. Reframe them in a positive light by asking these questions. Can this be interpreted in a more positive way? Could any good come out of this? Is there an opportunity hidden here? What can I learn from this to be used later?
9. Sort out your thoughts– Focus your thoughts on things difficult for you. What thoughts crop up in your mind? Are there many thoughts running around up there or is it one constant nagging thought? Try to think about these problems in a rational manner instead of responding emotionally.
10. Worries and fears are the enemies of optimism- treat debilitating thoughts like background noise like voices on a radio in your vicinity. You can hear them but don’t focus on them. Show yourself that you’re not listening.
11. Got a pessimism attack? Don’t fight it. Don’t judge your thoughts. If you relate to them with curiosity and forgiveness you will cope with them better. Even so, try to steer your mind back on track, focusing on the good. Every time your thoughts to negative places recognize it and refocus your attention with contemplation.