Does reading the word ‘optimism’ make you think of rose-colored glasses, or looking on the sunny side? While both views can be associated with an optimistic outlook, being optimistic is lots deeper. In fact, it’s SVD (so very deep) that researchers have learned that optimists have an extended life span.
Yes, you read that right! This blog shares info about its bevy of benefits. That even includes how optimism affects your work day, creativity, and overall success. Plus, there are vital health outcomes that count, year after year! Like being able to shoot hoops or do the Twist with the best of them! Hold on, you don’t know that dance? Try it sometime.
We’re including tips on how you too, even if you’re a dyed-in-wool pessimist, can turn to the sunny side. That means getting ready for some real action and activity! Please, no worries, as all the tips are easy to fit into your busy life. Interesting side note: Some of them are likely to add more balance to your life. That’s a sweet benefit, for sure!
Here’s Some Optimism Straight-Talk
Optimism Defined: It’s More Than Sugar & Spice!
At its most basic, optimism is an attitude of hope with an expectation that good things are bound to happen. Meaning, they’re likely to happen to anyone, including you! It’s also a positive outlook on life in general. Being optimistic means seeing the positive sides of life, even when things are rough.
Optimism takes a broad view of what life can offer. It has a realist side that acknowledges, even embraces the fact, that life has its share of tough times and setbacks. Optimism comes from believing and anticipating that better days are ahead. In short, optimism isn’t just about seeing everything through rose-colored glasses or wearing a perpetual smile. It’s about responding resiliently with whatever comes your way.
What It Feels & Looks Like – You’ll Be Surprised!
Optimism isn’t just about feelings or behaving optimistically. It involves committing to choices about behaviors, activities, work, and interests that offer you meaning. That leads to a sense of optimism and the measurable effects it has on your creativity, ability to be productive, and overall success. Yes, this also includes health benefits!
Along with being hopeful, realistic, and having an overall positive bent on things, optimists are generally:
- Buoyant, even when they trip and stumble,
- Rather humorous, at times coming out with some rather wild words and statements,
- Forward-thinking, yet able to learn from past whoopsies,
- Able to find creative ways to feed their optimistic side,
- Interested in maintaining an outlook that good comes in different forms, some that are daunting and others that are sparkling,
- Encouraging of others,
- Focused on what they consider fun, even if it looks gross and boring to others, and
- Energetic in their own style.
The Bountiful Benefits of Optimism
Practicing optimism over time helps people to cope with stress and negative emotions. It leads to staying focused on the task at hand. Overall, optimism helps a person to live a full, juicy life!
7 Attitudinal & Life Satisfaction Benefits
With optimism, you’ll enjoy increased happiness and self-worth, improved health, better coping mechanisms, increased energy & motivation, and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes. Wow, that’s nothing short of amazing!
1. Optimism helps you recognize and celebrate your value and that of others. You enjoy overall life satisfaction and welcome new, exciting challenges. Perhaps it's a new career, hobby, or athletic pursuit. Sky’s the limit!
2. Stress levels decrease and fade along with the negative effects of stress hormone overload. Optimists tend to cope with worries by focusing on positive outcomes rather than negative ones. That helps you develop a can-do attitude!
3. Optimism helps people face difficulties and challenging situations. When you’re optimistic, you’re able to tackle tough problems and stressful events more effectively.
4. You have more energy and motivation because optimism boosts hope and your spirit, even in difficult times. This leads to greater productivity, creativity, and success.
5. Boost your adaptability with resounding resilience as you respond to change. You’re able to shift gears when confronted with unexpected events.
6. Productivity becomes a dependable constant as optimism grows. The shift to positivity increases your focus and ability to achieve or reconfigure your goals. Releasing hints of pessimism aids with putting hesitation and procrastination in the rearview mirror. Bye-bye!
7. Another sunny aspect of optimism is its positive effects on relationships with family, friends, and peers. Optimists are viewed as being empathetic and understanding of others.
4 Beneficial Health & Wellness Outcomes
“Recent studies suggest that optimism is specifically related to 11 to 15% longer life span, on average, and to greater odds of achieving ‘exceptional longevity,’ that is, living to the age of 85 or beyond.”
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 2019
Optimism is said to have a slew of physical and mental health benefits. Here are some highlights of how optimism benefits your life:
1. Better Physical Health: Studies have shown that optimism is linked to better physical health. People with an optimistic outlook often have lower levels of inflammation – they have healthy immune system responses, thus being less prone to illness.
2. Longer Life with Better Healthspan: This is a double benefit! The combo of increased lifespan with improved health leads to having better health for more years. This means you get to enjoy the people and activities you love!
3. Improved Mental Health: Optimism is linked to better mental health outcomes. People who are upbeat are more resilient when troubles arise – they’re more likely to have lower levels of anxiety and depression.
4. Optimism Positively Affects Brain Health: Being optimistic, even during challenges like long-distance runs, contributes to prefrontal cortex brain structure and its health. One outcome is reduced anxiety. Another is more balanced levels of cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones.
What It Takes To Develop Optimism
Hopefully, you’re still engaged and reading! Why? This is where we give you the goods. Those are the tips and steps that’ll get you to the sunny side. Hey, let’s begin with steps!
Engage in Endorphin Generation
Sure, that sounds over-the-top. Endorphin-boosting puts you in that ‘feel-good’ place. The boost happens when you:
- Get revved up with physical activity breaks during your workday.
- Laugh your butt off, especially when something is downright foolish.
- Move to the floor to gain a new perspective on things.
- For goodness sake, get a good 7 hours of sound sleep.
- Balance your work:life ratio to boost your outlook along with your productivity and energy rejuvenation.
- Let your growing ‘let’s-go-for-it’ sense of can-do shine – the special quality your remote team loves.
- Practice mindfulness when you eat, work, and contemplate optimism’s nuances.
- Extend gratitude.
Onward to Optimism!
If that exclamation makes this sound like an adventure, that’s because it is! After all, learning about yourself, your potential, and how to get the most out of your precious life is the ultimate adventure.
Even then, optimism doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For some, becoming optimistic requires deliberately consistent action and practice. Think of it like learning to use a new device or program. To get the most functionality out of whatever-it-is can take time and attention. Remember, ‘fun’ is part of learning how something functions. In this case, it’s the ins and outs of optimism. Here are some stepping stones to get you there:
- Cultivate self-care skills such as encouraging self-talk, gratitude, mindfulness, and emotional regulation.
- Take physical activity breaks to increase your healthy workdays. Plus, on your days off!
- Keep your goals realistic and achievable.
- Keep company with people who are upbeat and happy to chat about optimism.
- Seek support and encouragement when life is stressful.
- When mistakes or missteps happen, reflect on these as part of growth. Truly, sometimes these can lead to new directions.
- Practice the art of letting go.
Optimism has multiple benefits that affect all aspects of life. Once you’ve achieved an optimistic outlook, your coming years will offer new hope and opportunities. Sure, this takes practice and time, just like learning to play an instrument or growing the vines that lead to fine wine.
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