Optimism is skill I’ve not yet mastered—not completely, anyway. A chronic worrier to the core, I’m one who has always gravitated to a more pessimistic state of thinking, which may have something to do with why I married me an eternal optimist. (While I sometimes find it difficult to assume the best possible outcome in any given situation, my husband finds it difficult to assume anything but.)
That said, I’m working on it. I’m better at it than I once was and I hope to only become better yet. I know rationally that so much more is to be gained from optimism than pessimism. There’s a reason my husband rarely gets sick—and I want me some of that!
According to the Mayo Clinic, optimism is associated with the following psychological benefits:
- Stress relief.
- Better coping skills during times of hardship.
- Greater sense of well being and overall health.
The physical health benefits include:
- Resistance to the common cold (case in point: my husband).
- Reduced coronary artery disease.
- Easier breathing with some lung diseases.
Then there are the quality of life improvements:
- A greater sense of achievement. Optimists tend to strongly believe in themselves. When one expects great things, great things are more likely to happen.
- Relationships are stronger. A regular flow of positive energy will infuse any relationship with a better resilience to life’s ups and downs.
- Perseverance. By applying an optimistic attitude to a challenging situation, you create a positive pathway that will guide you through it.
I know all too well the tremendous power my mind has over my body; I’ve experienced both its negative and positive effects on a number of occasions. That is why I take comfort in knowing that optimism is a choice; it is within my reach. Fortunately, we all have this ability—we all have this choice.
So I choose optimism.