Apparently, it’s smart to be optimistic.
We all know that optimism is a good thing. But I found a really good article in Reader’s Digest that shed some additional light on why it’s so smart to be a sunny-side-up kind of person.
Optimistic people are healthier, according to this October 2010 article. They exercise more and are more apt to follow a better diet. They pay more attention to good habits.
Happiness is a feeling; optimism is a belief that aspects of your future will turn out well. Happiness can fluctuate a lot, but an optimistic disposition is usually pretty stable. If you’re not optimistic, you can try creating a ‘positive events’ log. The more positive events you note, the more optimism grows. Good things happen to everyone, but pessimists often don’t take notice.
That made me think about gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal allows us to be more aware of the good things going on around us. It creates a good cycle of becoming more optimistic and joyful. It’s true. It works!
Of course, the opposite works, too. And in all the not-good ways that tear us down. Even though we may have a day when things seem upside down, it’s worth the effort to push through the negative and find a reason to smile. Because there are always reasons to smile.
Here’s a quote worthy of our memorizing. Not the exact words – just the concept:
This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. [Thomas S. Monson]
I note that when I’m in a funky mood, everybody else is more apt to get on my nerves. Why are they so stupid? Why is she so nasty? Why is he so bothersome? [You know, the Wahhhh.... Life Is So Hard concept.] But an amazing thing happens when I’m in a better frame of mind: Other people magically seem nicer! And smarter! And not nearly so bothersome. The world is more friendly. Even drivers are better!
Note to Self for those moments: Get over myself, and on with the business of being positive, grateful, and optimistic. It’s a lot smarter.
Thanks for Inc.com for the clever and optimistic photo above!
Depending on which study you read, optimists:
- are 9 percent less likely to develop heart disease
- are only 77 percent as likely to be re-hospitalized after some types of major surgery
- have blood pressure that’s five points lower, on average
- live an average of 9.5 years longer
That’s good news, isn’t it?! Some nice statistics.
But there are wiser reasons for working at optimism. They have nothing to do with our health, the economy, or the predictions of the world’s ups and downs. The smartest people aren’t the ones with the highest education, nor the degrees and acclaim. Nope.
Wise folks are the ones who know that the glass is always full. You see – a glass that’s half full of water is also half full of air. So, it’s full. Right?
Optimists are the ones who see the world through rose colored glasses. I’ve hit walls. I thought it was time to toss in the towel. Forget everything and everyone. That things could never be good again.
But I was wrong. The storms pass. Thank heaven [literally] for the blessing of hope – for optimism. It’s that little piece of string left in the frayed rope that allowed me to hang on. The quiet voice whispering that a better time was coming. It always comes.
Like the sun peeping over the mountain after a long, stormy night, hope comes. Our optimistic heart will wisely tell us how to keep pushing through, noting the good things that pop their heads.
In the long run, the pessimist may be proved right. But the optimist- the wise optimist- will have a better journey.
Choosing hope, good cheer, and gratitude gives us a fullness we’d otherwise lack. The glass-full-people are the ones who really make a difference. In small ways. In large ways. Always! That’s good.
And goodness matters.