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No two people are alike, we think, talk and dream differently and there is a reason for this: our brain. Every brain is wired uniquely and it is this organ that makes us behave the way we do. It controls our moods, ability to judge and also influences us to perceive our future in a particular way. In other words, it is our brain that induces hopes and also feelings of hopelessness among us. The centre of the brain that is responsible for controlling emotions induces these perceptions and intellectual acuity. So what we express or perceive is basically how our brain is coordinating with the various networks within it, making us choose a response to a situation or circumstance. This is a reason why some people are an optimist in nature and some have a pessimistic view of life.
Optimism or positivity as we know is the happy state we all strive to be in. Some people can be happy in the face of adversities and carry on with the umpteen challenges of life with hope and faith in their heart. On the other hand, others feel helpless and hapless on the face of trivial issues. We cannot get judgemental over here because hope and hopelessness is not always a choice. In fact, it is at times a response triggered by the brain depending on which area of the brain is stimulated in response to a situation or circumstance. Scientists have now discovered a brain region that could give rise to pessimistic moods making people focus more on the possible downside than the potential benefits of a stressful situation. They also pointed out that it was more likely to happen with people who suffered from anxiety disorder or depression. While this finding can help doctors and therapist chart better treatment modules to control the area of the brain that triggers anxiety and depression the news isn't too surprising for us. We know people who are a pessimist and have negative thoughts about things have tendencies to develop certain mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
Optimism Vs Pessimism
We don't need too many reminders to tell us that optimism helps to improve quality of life, relationships and productivity. But if you are a pessimist in life or know people who evaluate the downsides of everything rather than the positives here is how optimism helps:
It improves one's mental well-being
Having positive thoughts about the future or circumstances help one to be able to exercise control over a situation without being a victim of it. Studies suggest that "compared to optimists, pessimists nurtured little hope for the future and were more at risk for depressive and anxiety disorders, with subsequent impairment of social functioning and quality of life." Optimist people exude a kind of satisfaction and contentment that helps them to be more focused and strategies plan based on finding solutions for problems or barriers as compared to pessimist who tends to give up too soon instead of reining control over life. This attitude can influence suicidal ideation and also induce symptoms of depression.
It improves one's longevity and physical health
Happy people are better equipped to keep themselves healthy and hearty. They consciously put in some effort to eat healthy, exercise and keep them in good shape as they are spared the inertia that sets in with negative mood and pessimism. Making it difficult for the pessimist (especially, with an underlying disorder) to move out and exercise or even eat healthily. Studies say that optimist people have fewer chances of dying due to cardiovascular disorders than pessimists.
It improves one's coping skills
Optimist people are solution-oriented and this helps them to garner better-coping skills than pessimists. Studies say that "optimistic women presented coping strategies characterized by acceptance of the situation, an emphasis of the positive aspects and attempts to alleviate their condition with a sense of humour, showing evident positive results on their quality of life."
Here are ways to boost optimism
Try conscious positivism: Remember negative thoughts beget negativism. Even according to quantum physics, our thoughts have a frequency and a corresponding unique vibration that attracts similar frequencies into our lives. So, try and make an attempt to be positive in life.
Introspect: Sometimes negative feeling could be an offshoot of a trauma or a bad experience in childhood which you could never get over sexual assault, the death of a near one, etc. It is better to introspect and get to the core of the problem. Take professional help if needed.
Start taking responsibilities: Make it a point to organise your life, pay off bills on time, get better at time management, prioritise. These things help to overcome imminent fears and help to get better with coping skills too.
Practice affirmations: Many therapists believe that talking in affirmative helps to boost optimism
Take the help of therapist: If negativism and pessimism are coming in the way of your well-being get in touch with a therapist. Studies say that even one or two sessions of cognitive-behaviour therapy can help induce optimism and reduce symptoms of depression and suicidal tendencies.
Image source: Shutterstock
Reference: Conversano, C., Rotondo, A., Lensi, E., Della Vista, O., Arpone, F., & Reda, M. A. (2010). Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health : CP & EMH, 6, 25 29. http://doi.org/10.2174/1745017901006010025
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