Optimism

Uncategorized Jul 24, 2021
 

In the last episode, I shared my framework for a Youthful Mindset. A youthful mindset will keep you feeling young and vibrant, no matter your age.

In the next few episodes, I’m going to dive a little deeper into each of the 7 characteristics, and today, we’re talking about Trait #1 of a youthful mindset – and that’s Optimism

As a general definition, Optimism is the belief that the outcome of events or experiences will be positive. It’s also defined as a way or a STYLYE that people understand or explain the events that happen in their life

This STYLE has 3 potential components to it:

 

  1. optimistic people tend to see negative events as temporary, where pessimists explain negative events as more permanent. So Someone who’s optimistic can more easily see the possibility of change, whereas pessimists tend to think things are unchangeable and will ALWAYS be the way they are.

 

  1. optimists tend to see negative events as more limited or localized in scope, where pessimists see issues as more generalized or pervasive. An example would be the breakup of a relationship – an optimist would tend to restrain their emotions about the event to the relationship itself, and a pessimist would tend to start thinking about how the breakup was going to impact their work, their finances, their health, etc.

 

  1. Also, optimists are less likely to “internalize” negative events, where pessimists are MORE likely to internalize them. As an example, a bad grade on a test will have a pessimist thinking “I’m so stupid”, where an optimist would think “Well, that sucks, but it’s only one grade. I’ll do better next time.”

 

In my research on this topic, I was actually surprised by the amount of clinical evidence of health benefits of optimism. Numerous studies have been done over the years that clearly indicate health benefits like, less heart disease, lower blood pressure, fewer instances of depression, lower stress levels, improved immune system and even longevity. Yes, it is true! Not only does Optimism play a role in feeling YOUTHFUL (in other words, having a youthful mindset), Optimists actually live longer than pessimists.

Sooo… you’re now wondering, how can I get me some more of this optimism, right?

Fortunately, studies also show that a person can IMPROVE their level of optimism.

Many researchers and coaches encourage Mindfulness and Gratitude practice, which I agree with wholeheartedly…

  • Mindfulness is the first step to recognizing pessimistic thoughts and thereby giving you a OPPORTUNITY to adjust your thinking towards positivity and hope.
  • And Gratitude is ALWAYS a good idea. If you don’t yet have a daily Gratitude practice, I highly recommend starting one – whether that’s writing 5 things every day you’re grateful for, or setting an gratitude alarm on your phone to remind yourself to be thankful once a day.

But I’d like to take you a little deeper into Optimism and hopefully help you develop your Optimism muscle:

When you find yourself thinking pessimistically (in other words, internalizing something crappy that happened to you, or thinking that because you’re broke right now, you’ll always be broke), stop and ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. Is this TRULY a permanent situation, or is it just POSSIBLE that things could get better tomorrow, or next week, or next month?
  2. Does this event TRULY define me or my life as a whole, or is it just POSSIBLE that it’s an isolated incident that won’t affect other areas of my life?
  3. In what way can I turn this event or circumstance into an OPPORTUNITY? In other words, I’ve already made the mistake, how can I make the most of it?

Winston Churchill  once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

 

In summary, Optimism is one of the 7 characteristics of a Youthful Mindset, and you absolutely CAN develop a more optimistic outlook.

We’ll see you in the next episode!

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