Note: This is a guest post from Ayo Olaniyan of Discovering Purpose
Look at the picture closely: Is the glass half full or half empty?
The BBC website published a report Optimistic women ‘live longer’. This was based on a research carried out by a group of US scientists who studied 100,000 women to deduce pessimists had higher blood pressure and cholesterol; optimistic women had a 9% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up.
The concept of this post isn’t targeted at women only; I believe the subject of optimism affects every individual going/living through life’s struggles each day. There have been various studies carried out on optimism and while I have a few reservations on extreme optimism, one can’t deny the role optimism plays in enhancing your personal growth.
What is optimism?
Optimism is looking at a more favorable side of events and simply anticipating the best possible outcome in any situation.
Sir Winston Churchill states ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’ What do you see?
A few months ago, I filled out the VIA Survey of Character Strengths by Martin Seligman (founder of Positive Psychology) and the results showed I was moderately optimistic.
It’s also important to note that there are elements of hope expressed in optimism.
Rick Snyder states ‘hope is a process of goal-directed thoughts that reflects both the belief that one can find pathways to the goal and has motivation based on one’s perceived capabilities or thinking.’
In no particular order, here are 45 benefits of optimism:
- It gives you a reason for living.
- It reduces the level of stress experienced.
- Research shows that it increases longevity.
- It enables you to handle and put your emotions in check.
- It promotes happiness.
- It promotes self respect and integrity
- It enhances various coping skills developed in order to combat life’s struggles.
- It forges persistence which is an essential trait required for achieving success.
- It creates a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
- It promotes healthy living.
- It creates a positive anticipation of the future.
- It increases your level of productivity.
- It allows you to deal with failure constructively.
- It allows you to develop the attribute of patience.
- It makes you proactive.
- It improves your physiological and psychological well being.
- It enables you to take a balanced approach to life by dealing with the constant negative thoughts which spring up.
- It increases the likelihood of effective problem solving.
- It gives you peace of mind.
- It enables you to generate an alternative, more hopeful explanation for various difficulties experienced.
- It ensures you believe in your dream.
- It creates a positive attitude.
- It increases your tolerance levels because it lowers the risk of you being irritated by little things.
- It allows you to develop the habit of being thankful.
- It increases your level of motivation.
- It builds successful careers by promoting productivity.
- It promotes laughter.
- It doesn’t give any room for self denial.
- It welcomes any form of constructive change.
- It creates positive expectations.
- It sets your mood for the day.
- It promotes positive relationships.
- It builds resilience in the face of adversity.
- It promotes self confidence and boosts self esteem.
- It ensures you are focused.
- It promotes bonding between individuals.
- It reduces the level of your frustrations and worries.
- It promotes forgiveness.
- It enhances effective communication.
- It increases your spiritual development and awakening.
- It deals with your limiting beliefs which try to keep you from using your abilities.
- It gives room for self expression.
- It increases your mental flexibility.
- It is therapeutic.
- It improves your social life.
There are several ways optimism can be developed. They are as follows:
- Have realistic goals and expectations.
- Always remember you are human with a lot of imperfections.
- Acknowledge past events, but endeavor to manage the present with a view to creating a brighter future.
- Don’t fall into the trap of feeling hopeless.
- Be true to yourself.
- Network with people who show optimism in their daily lives.
- Believe in your dreams.
Once again, the aim of this post is to remind you of the benefits of optimism.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Ayo Olaniyan is a certified Unitive Life Coach. He is also an Accredited Professional Counsellor with the Counselling Society United Kingdom. He writes on how you can discover your purpose through personal development and self-awareness on the blog Discovering Purpose. He is also the publisher of The Life Skills Magazine.