Some people are naturally optimistic. They just seem to see the bright side of things and are rarely in a bad mood. Others are the opposite, naturally tending toward a negative disposition.
Most people are somewhere in the middle. They may frequently be upbeat, but are affected by negative turns of events in ways that can sour their mood, increase a sense of stress and anxiety or become overwhelming.
Many parts of our personality and general emotional state seem to be established long before we become adults. Positivity or negativity are often demonstrated in young children as personality traits.
Yet, through intentional actions, it is possible to make significant changes in our outlook on life. However, these changes are not automatic and are not accomplished without effort and practice. To some it would seem to require more effort than it is worth to try to develop a more optimistic perspective. Why should one bother?
There are a number of proven advantages to being more optimistic.
Many have suspected and studies have confirmed that optimistic people live healthier, longer lives than pessimistic people.
Over 50 years of research has shown that optimistic people have healthier cardiovascular systems, for example. Yes, that means the hearts of happy people are healthier.
Optimistic people recover more readily from surgery, illness and injuries. In fact, the more optimistic a person is, the lower their chances of even experiencing illness, injury or surgery. Even studies involving patients having orthopedic surgery revealed better and faster recoveries among the more optimistic patients. Having a more positive outlook leads to a more positive outcome.
Optimistic people tend to be more proactive about their health. Research has shown that more optimistic people engage in more intentional behavior to protect their health.
This behavior leads to less illness as well as fewer injuries.
Studies have also shown that more optimistic people live longer as well. The difference can be up to 10 percent longer or more statistically. That could translate into seven or more additional years.
Optimistic people have been shown to earn more during their lifetimes. The more optimistic a person is the greater their chances of career advancement and increased earning potential.
So, if optimistic people live longer and enjoy better health as well as earn more money, how does one become more optimistic?
Surprisingly, a person can improve their level of optimism fairly easily. There are two challenges to overcome, though. The first challenge is that it takes intentional effort as well as persistence. The second challenge is being optimistic enough to believe that it is possible and that it is worth the effort to develop more optimism.
The second challenge listed above isn’t intended to be tongue-in-cheek. It is a real issue that must be dealt with. In order to succeed in changing our perspective or any behavior it is necessary to truly believe that it is possible and also to be committed to follow through long enough to see the change we wish to make.
Knowing that being more positive can have real benefits that can be include allowing us to enjoy living longer as well as enjoying less illness, better health and increased earning capacity, is that motivational enough to persuade us to seek ways to become more positive?
There are numerous ways to begin the process of intentionally becoming more positive. One of the easiest ways is to begin to simply copy people that tend to be more optimistic.
Optimistic people can be observed to engage in different behaviors and habits than pessimistic people.
There are numerous books, articles and websites that illustrate the habits that can lead to a more positive outlook on life.
The very best way to start any new habit is to make a firm commitment that you will persist, no matter what obstacle will arise. That is because obstacles, distractions and difficulties will arise. The next most important step is to take an action step. Order a new book about becoming more optimistic. Do a computer search for suggestions. Invite a friend or family member to join the pursuit with you. Start writing a list of positive-attitude-focused activities that you would like to participate in during the next few weeks.
I am positively optimistic that making these positive changes will bring about remarkable improvements!
Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractic physician in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com