We all know that people are encouraged to be optimistic, but do you actually know the benefits of optimism? Being an optimist simply means that you expect that good things will happen. It means that you have a positive outlook in life and that you are hopeful for the future. Here are a few health benefits of optimism that targets not only your physical health but also your psychological wellbeing.
1. Boosts the Immune System
One of the benefits of optimism on your physical health is its ability to boost your immune system. Having a positive view of the future can help you fight infectious diseases! Research show that if you feel hopeful about an important event in your life, your immune response becomes stronger compared to those who have a negative perspective on the situation. One study reported that optimistic patients recovered faster from a coronary artery bypass operation than those who were not.
2. Reduces Stress Levels
Optimism is the key to effective stress management. Studies show that the stress hormone called cortisol tends to be more stable if you have a positive outlook about the future. Pessimists tend to dwell on what has gone wrong; on the negative aspects of a situation, thus hindering them from resolving the problem. If you think positively when faced with a challenging situation, you are more likely to be able to devise an effective action plan for your problem.
3. Increases Longevity
Thinking positively boosts your immune system and helps you manage your stress levels. Therefore, you can say that being optimistic can help you live longer. Researchers could not exactly pin point the underlying cause of this but they speculate that optimists are less likely to develop depression and that they may also be more positive and open to seeking medical help. Optimists also tend to engage in good health practices such as exercise, and eating healthy.
4. Buffers Depression
Studies show that optimism helps reduce the likelihood of developing depression. Positive thinking elicits positive emotions. Positive emotions broaden your personal resources raging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources. Optimism helps you see the silver lining when you feel that the world is turning against you. Optimists tend to steer away from worrying and find hope in difficult situations.
5. Promotes Resilience
Resilience means being able to bounce back or recover from difficulties and challenges. Resilient individuals are able to cope well with problems. They have the ability to resolve difficulties or trauma without falling apart. Resiliency and optimism come hand in hand. Optimists, when faced with trials, tend to focus on what they can do to fix the problem. Positive thinking buffers depression and empowers you to thrive.
6. Boosts Self-confidence
Having a positive outlook in life builds your confidence. Optimists tend to see the good not only in other people, but also in themselves. This makes them more confidently about their talents and abilities. Thinking positively is like having an encouraging coach in your head saying "You can do it! I know you can!" This little cheer inside your head helps you feel more confident and in turn helps you to perform better.
7. Promotes Forgiveness
Thinking positively helps you see the good in the person you have had conflict with. It helps you look past the difficulty you are facing and focus on the learning that lies under all the conflict. Optimism helps you decide to have and maintain happy, healthy and positive relationships. By being hopeful for the future, you are able to find the positives of situation, find solutions and be motivated to work on having good relationships with others. Life is about learning and growing; forgiveness mediated by optimism helps you achieve such essential life purpose.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of optimism, you have to practice thinking positively. I know it is easier said than done. But remember, optimism is a choice. How has positive thinking helped you? Share your story with me!