Share this content :
A smile and a sunny disposition can do more than brighten your day. Being optimistic in life can add more years to your life. A 2019 study revealed that optimists live 11% to 15% longer than average. Many of them can reach the 85-year milestone!
Being an optimist can sound like a silly or unrealistic idea. Many consider the “glass half full” mentality a dreamer’s delusion. In other words, learning how to be optimistic in life might seem like a foolish idea. However, the reality is that being optimistic in life is much more than wishful thinking.
Experts define optimism as an attitude full of hope and confidence in the future. Being optimistic in life isn’t pretending that all is well, though. Optimism is finding the positives and successes in all scenarios, including the most dire situations. For instance, they might see hardships and failures as learning experiences.
Another interesting fact about being optimistic in life is that it can be practical, too. Not all idealists just hope for the best. Many try to think of ways to make a situation better or bearable. The world might not be perfect, but it can always be better. That’s why optimists keep hoping and working on the positives.
Dr. Ferrari of the American Psychological Association said that 20% of the U.S. are chronic procrastinators. According to his research, they delay home, work, or school tasks, and they procrastinate their way of life out everything. This is an unfortunate number coming from a nation of “doers” when a huge chunk of the population is actually “waiters” and “laters.” Delaying a task may give short-term satisfaction, but it has a long-term cost on health, finances, work performance, and well-being.
Even if things don’t work as expected, the general feeling of hope makes optimists more content with the present. For them, what is happening now will give way to better things in the near or distant future. That’s why learning how to be optimistic in life can make people more thankful and joyous in the now!
It’s no surprise that learning how to be optimistic in life makes you happier overall. That said, it goes deeper than forcing a smile. According to Tali Sharot of the University College London, optimists tend to imagine positive events more vividly and expect them sooner. Doing so causes them to anticipate the event that, if it does occur, makes it feel more pleasurable.
Learning to be optimistic can add more than happy thoughts; it can also add extra years into your lifespan! The famous Grant Study, which examined male Harvard students in the early 1940s, revealed that optimism began predicting health at age 45. Another study, this time on Catholic nuns, showed that the positive ones outlived their negative counterparts by a decade.
So, why is this the case? Well, being optimistic in life changes your body both psychologically and physically. Optimists have boosted immune systems, whereas pessimists tend to have twice as many infections and doctor visits. Optimists also take more proactive steps to live better and healthier. They may take more risks but do so in calculated and pre-planned ways.
A famous example of how being optimistic in life helps comes from famed actor Michael J. Fox. The Back to the Future star, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, revealed in an interview with Ellen Degeneres about why his positivity helped his life by stating:
“Optimism and hope relate to how we think and feel about the future. If we really do believe that things will work out for the best, all the setbacks become easier to deal with.”
Learning how to be optimistic in life goes beyond looking for the positives. A common misconception is that optimists are dreamers or wishful thinkers. The truth is that optimists can do much more than hope for the best. Many of them view challenges and setbacks as opportunities to improve their life.
For example, how would you react if you were outside and it began to rain but you don’t have an umbrella? To be optimistic in life, you can’t just wallow around and lose your temper. Follow the optimists’ lead and use these setbacks as a learning experience.
You can also use this to find new solutions to help them stay safe in the future. For example, optimists may bring umbrellas when going outside, watch the weather reports, or bring an emergency raincoat close by!
Lastly, being optimistic in life teaches you to handle failures and setbacks. Many people have faced challenges and have given in to despair. It’s difficult to face trials and tribulations with a smile, right? But an optimist does not settle for a loss. Instead, they do what they can to bounce back and find success.
For example, did you know that Sir James Dyson had over 5000 failed prototypes? Did you know that Steven Speilberg was rejected from the School of Cinematic Arts twice? Did you know Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? Yet all these people learned to be optimistic in life and went on to achieve greatness. If they can overcome adversity, so can you!
Now it’s time to learn how to turn that frown upside down, not just for a smile. Building a positive mindset takes time and effort. It needs to be a standard, not a one-time mantra. To help you out, here are six mental tips on how to be optimistic in life!
First, you must remember that optimism is not the same as wishful thinking. The American Psychological Association defines optimism as hopefulness or the attitude that good things will happen. That’s why it is essential to look at things positively to be optimistic.
According to Eranda Jayawickreme, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, it’s important to acknowledge reality. He states that people should accept their life situations, including the challenges, rather than ignoring them. Instead of disregarding your problems, you look towards minimizing them.
Another crucial tip from Dr. Jayawickreme is identifying what you can or can’t control. Part of accepting reality is knowing what a person is capable of doing. For example, it’s one thing to wish the rain would disappear and another to bring your umbrella while stepping outside. Both may have the same goal–to stay dry–but there’s a big difference in how a person acts.
Knowing how far your control goes is essential to be optimistic in life. Can you change the entire situation in your favor? If not, can you change certain aspects to help your situation? If you want to be optimistic in life, you must know your options. You can only cross your fingers and hope for the best when none exist.
Dr. Jayawickcreme says people love redemption stories, where bad things happen, but the characters come out for the better. Unfortunately, he also notes that people try to imagine why they suffer challenges or adversities. He suggests instead that people should avoid dwelling on their thoughts. Instead, they should consider making practical decisions and working towards a goal.
Here’s an example that illustrates someone learning how to be optimistic in life. Imagine that you get a call that says your house burned down. It will be a tough loss and you might feel confused about what to do. However, an optimistic person can decide to take action. They might ask about their stuff or their loved ones first to see what they can help. They may check for insurance or safety measures to help them with repairs. It’s not that they don’t feel bad, but they know which priorities come first.
Sometimes, the biggest challenge in learning how to be optimistic in life is fighting off negative thoughts. Keep in mind negative thoughts aren’t inherently evil. Many of them come from legitimate concerns or fears. For example, a person who is afraid of heights might constantly worry if they are going to a tall building.
However, if you want to be optimistic in life, you must learn to talk back. Debating with your internal fears or concerns is as important as looking on the bright side. For instance, a person with a fear of heights might reason they don’t need to go close to the windows or are in a secure and well-built property. Sometimes, the best way to fight your fear is to outsmart them!
It’s always good to have positive thoughts to be optimistic in life. However, even positive thinking needs some proof or evidence at times. If you want to know how to be optimistic in life, take time to track your goals and plans. Getting closer to a destination can inspire you to keep working. If you’re still far off, that can motivate you to move.
Lastly, learning to be optimistic in life also includes setting a plan for your day. Sometimes, feeling hopeless about the future stems from a lack of planning. If you know what to do today, tomorrow, and this week, you’ll build a solid plan for the long run.
Share this content :