Why optimism will benefit you

Optimism – does it impact health?

It’s true and proven! Folks with a view that the glass is half full have more enriching lives than the others. This outlook towards life and its surprises nourishes both physical and mental states. The recent movie ‘life of Pi’ also subtly underlines this message.

Firstly, lack of pessimism is not considered as optimism. The active belief that things will work out for our wellbeing is a better state of mind than saying that we are prepared for whatever the outcome (neutral state).

Research reveals that habitual optimists are less likely to have an attack of depression and suffer from massive heart strokes than pessimists. This is largely due to the fact that optimists are better at coping with failures and hardships. When dealing with a challenging situation, optimists tend to react with active problem solving, positive thinking, and occasional sense of humor. On the other hand, pessimists tend to respond with frustration, hopelessness, and prejudice. Over a period of time, this attitudinal difference in coping style results in optimists experiencing lesser stress levels than pessimists, even when faced with the similar life challenges. Our thought patterns dictate the functioning of nervous system. Hence, research links the following benefits to optimism,

  • Increased life span
  • Lower depression levels
  • Improved coping skills
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular diseases

Socially too, those who have such attitude towards life have more social support, stable moods and active styles. It is interesting to note that the rate of healing post a surgical procedure has a strong correlation to a positive attitude towards life.

Medically proven, experts concluded that too much pessimism could result in hypochondria, a condition where one believes that a disease is present when it really is not.

In India, one in 4 deaths is attributed to heart related diseases. Considering the health benefits flowing in as a result of looking at the brighter side, one should make conscious efforts to build this holistic attitude.

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