Sunshine and happiness is my short definition of optimism. But, it’s probably better defined as a mental attitude where you look for the best scenario and expect a good outcome. In general, you believe everything is how it should be and the future will be fine. A common illustration is a half glass of water. An optimist says, ‘It’s half full’; while the pessimist says, ‘It’s half empty.’
Expecting good things can make you healthier and might even lengthen your life, says researcher Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, author of Breaking Murphy’s Law. Depending on which study you read’ optimists
…are 9 percent less likely to develop heart disease.
…are only 77 percent as likely to be rehospitalized after some types of major surgery.
…have blood pressure that’s five points lower, on average.
…live an average of 9.5 years longer.
It is important to be a balanced optimist. You need to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst and not be discouraged when life is less than perfect. Take steps toward a better future. Some are small daily steps, which lead to longer range goals – but focus on an eventual good outcome.
If you are not very optimistic – YET… Don’t worry. Optimism is a learned skill. Studies also suggest that optimism can be strengthened, just like your muscles. Next time you feel circumstances are beyond our control, find something positive about the situation. Even if the only lesson is patience. Each time your ability to be optimistic will increase.
Success is in your grasp – keep taking towards toward your goals!