Optimism: Positive thinking for greater well-being

optimism
Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / JillWellington

Optimism has a positive effect on health and psyche. However, if this positive attitude towards life does not come from a deep conviction, dark sides can also come to light.

Is the glass half full or half empty? This is probably the most frequently asked question to find out whether someone is optimistic or pessimistic. According to current research, the two tendencies are stable constructs that include both thoughts and feelings.

Optimism: These are the benefits of positive thinking

Optimism refers to an attitude to life in which one looks at the current situation and the future from a positive perspective. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for learning an optimistic attitude. What is certain, however, is that such an attitude has many advantages, as numerous studies have shown:

  • Healthier and longer lives: It has been scientifically proven that optimists generally live longer than pessimists. According to a US study, the most optimistic women are 50 percent more likely to live past the age of 85 with a positive attitude to life than the most pessimistic, and for men the difference is as high as 70 percent.

  • Professional success: Optimistic people see difficulties and problems at work as an opportunity. Their positive attitude often makes them more confident than employees with a pessimistic attitude. According to a study by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, this means that optimists receive better social support and earn more.

  • Mental well-being: People who see their situation from the best side often cope better with crises and setbacks. This could be because they are better able to manage their emotions and their own actions. Studies have shown that this behavior puts them at significantly lower risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders.

  • Interpersonal relationships: Optimists are also said to have better interpersonal relationships. A study by the University of Mannheim shows that people with a positive attitude to life are more willing to make compromises. This would enable them to better deal with conflicts in relationships and friendships.

Shadow sides of optimism

Optimism can relieve you of stress in the form of positive thinking.
Optimism can relieve you of stress in the form of positive thinking.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / JillWellington)

But only serious optimism can bring the benefits mentioned above. This means that only those who are seriously convinced of their positive thoughts will be able to enjoy the benefits. Otherwise, these disadvantages can also arise from an “optimistic” attitude:

  • Feeling of superiority and overestimation of oneself: As an optimist, one’s own successes have a significantly higher importance in life than crises and failures. However, this also makes it easy to overestimate yourself, for example by taking on too many tasks and thereby overtaxing yourself.

  • Naive actions: Anyone who thinks that everything will turn out well in every situation can also expose themselves to danger. This can result in reckless behavior, such as not wearing a seatbelt when driving because it was fine the last few times.

  • Excessive pressure: If you are too optimistic and overly motivated, you may set your goals too high. This not only puts those affected under pressure, but also leads to constant dissatisfaction with themselves.

You first have to internalize positive thought patterns, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Also be aware that setbacks and sad moments happen – but it’s all about how you deal with them.

Read more on Techzle\.com:

  • Joy of life: How to learn to enjoy your life
  • Asceticism: Why abstinence and renunciation can make you happy
  • Contentment: How to live happier

Revised by Lena Kirchner

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