If you’re not an optimist, you might find those who practice optimistic thinking to be a little annoying. They seem almost insufferably happier, and everything seems to go their way. And when it doesn’t, they still seem to smile and carry on with no skin off their back! Pessimists may even wonder if any of that perceived happiness is real.
The truth is that it is authentic! Optimists and those who utilize positive thinking tend to have happier lives and greater satisfaction. The human brain is potent, so how you think can dictate many aspects of your life. Here are five reasons why optimistic thinking can help you have a better life.
1. Higher Achievements Come From Optimistic Thinking
Those who want a better life typically seek to achieve more in it. These achievements can be in any sector that matters to you. They may be in your career, from a financial standpoint, or in terms of your impact on the world.
Optimism may be a significant driving force behind achievement. Positivity seems to be a cycle that perpetuates itself, with this happy thinking leading to more happiness through success. Studies suggest that this may be because of these factors:
- Optimistic thinking encourages you to try your best and reach for goals that may be outside of your comfort zone or might seem difficult to gun for.
- Optimists adapt to challenging situations more quickly, allowing them to overcome hurdles and face challenges with greater determination.
- You’re less likely to allow discouragement to win you over when you’re optimistic, so you’ll try to achieve more goals at a faster pace.
- Pessimism often means you believe you’ve done more poorly, which can be a self-fulling prophecy. This opens you to the risk of future bad performance.
2. Optimistic Thinking Translates to Better Leadership Skills
It’s almost hard to believe that optimistic thinking may bolster your leadership ability. But it has a lot to do with the contagiousness of positivity and the attitude that comes with it! Even just working in a team with optimism can boost synergy among the team members. Here’s how positive thinking lends itself to better leadership skills:
Most people are naturally more trusting of positive leaders and have bold, bright personalities. Upbeat leaders exude an air of confidence that makes them inherently more reliable. You get the sense that these people know what they’re doing and can pull off their plans!
A good leader knows how to communicate expectations and handle conflict intelligently. They can manage different desires and needs within their team and can talk positively to team members who need more support or advice. They know how to deliver bad news and encourage their team to take on challenges. And finally, they’re willing to hear constructive criticism and don’t react negatively to the feedback. All of these are traits you’ll find in those with optimistic thinking!
Leaders have to engage with the people who work with them. This means working closely with various people, each with its values, flaws, and strengths. Under the wrong leadership, teams often struggle because of their differences. Optimistic leaders can connect their team with sound strategies and middle ground on values, as they see the best in their team members.
Not all risks are made equal, and a good leader wouldn’t take unnecessary risks. But, at the same time, a good leader knows how and when to take calculated risks. They’re willing to step outside of their comfort zone and do things that seem challenging to help their team and goals. Optimists are incredible at this. They’re able to visualize success enough to make fear fade into the background. And, if the risk-taking doesn’t succeed, they have new lessons that they can implement with their team. They’ll also easily take responsibility for the decision and listen to their team’s feedback!
3. Improved Physical Health Goes Along With Optimistic Thinking
It sounds far-fetched, but it’s surprisingly accurate! Optimistic thinking links to significant improvements in physical health. When you practice positive thinking, you’re more likely to maintain better wellbeing than pessimists. Studies say that this includes:
- 50% lower cardiovascular diseases risk
- Reduced infectious diseases risk
- Higher survival rates when fighting cancer
- Longer lifespans
- Generally better health
It’s worth noting that some of these benefits may be indirect. For example, optimistic thinking may reduce heart disease risk because you experience less stress. And your survival rates may be higher because you’re able to better maintain your strength through the ordeal of recovery and treatment.
There are also more adequately studied ways that these indirect benefits occur. For one, optimists tend to know more about their physical bodies’ health. They are also more aware of what they need to do for their health, say studies. It’s a natural effect of liking themselves more – they’re more interested in taking care of their bodies and get actively invested in health topics. They keep themselves aware!
Benefits of Optimistic Thinking
Those with optimistic thinking engage in more healthy behaviors, which contributes to their longer lifespans and better general health. For example:
- They’re less likely to smoke or drink in excess, as they have better coping mechanisms for stress and other issues, say studies.
- They exercise more and stick to their fitness goals with incredible willpower and regulation. The same goes for dietary purposes, so they eat healthier, too.
- According to research, they get more sleep at better quality due to reduced stress and better time and schedule management.
- They engage in healthier intimate behaviors, say studies. This means they are less likely to take anonymous casual partners that could put them at risk of disease.
Regardless, the many benefits of optimism can help you live a better life through increased physical health. Even if that occurs indirectly, that’s a good enough reason for many!
4. Optimistic Thinking Leads to Better Social Relationships
Optimistic individuals tend to have more friends and better social relationships. Research has shown that optimists:
- They are better liked than pessimists
- Have more friends
- Develop more robust, healthier relationships with their friends
- Have fewer poor social interactions
- Manage their friendships better
- Can rely on social circles in times of need
- Receive a lot of social support that boosts their mental health
On top of that, even if their relationships are primarily average or the support they receive is less than it could be, optimistic thinking morphs that towards the positive. Optimists naturally feel more satisfied with their social relationships and interactions.
The good news is that this can form an upward spiral. The more satisfied you are with your relationships, the more positive people you attract. Then, the more extensive your social network, the better your optimistic thoughts will become as you reap the benefits of that support.
Birds of a feather flock together, which you could say in this case. Optimistic individuals are more likely to enjoy relationships with fellow optimists. This reduces toxic environments and creates healthier social circles.
5. Better Mental Health Comes From Optimistic Thinking
It’s easy enough to draw a connection between optimistic thinking and mental health. But it’s also easy to dismiss that as nothing more than a correlation. If someone has good mental health, to begin with, indeed, that’s what makes it easy for them to be optimistic, right?
Well, that’s not necessarily the case! Studies have shown that reframing thought processes for more optimistic thinking could be effective in clinical depression treatment. In fact, it can be as effective as antidepressants – or even more effective!
Better yet, those benefits, as mentioned earlier, are often long-lasting, so they’re not just a quick, easy fix that goes away after a while. Training your brain for optimistic thinking can completely transform your mental health. This outcome happens for the following reasons:
· You Envision Positive Things
Visualization is a powerful method for improving mental wellbeing and life satisfaction. When you imagine positive events, your body gets the rush of positive anticipation, and you experience the things in your life much more vividly. This creates more pleasure in your life, and waiting for good things feels like a much quicker process.
· You Cope Better With Difficult Situations
When bad things happen, it’s easy to get lost in thoughts about that negativity. Optimists can get their heads above those dark clouds, seeking out the positive in bad situations. They believe in the possibility of things to work out, and they also see the things they can learn from each challenge. This means that their hurdles feel easier to overcome.
· You Have Higher Self-Esteem
Optimism means you’re kinder to yourself. You see the good parts about you and don’t get lost in an overly critical inner voice. This isn’t to say that you overlook your flaws and weaknesses – you’re just more compassionate about them. You recognize that you don’t have to be perfect and are gentler on yourself. In turn, this facilitates more personal growth, which will lead to even more self-esteem!
Final Thoughts On How Optimistic Thinking Helps You Live A Better Life
Optimism is a powerful trait capable of granting better leadership skills, social relationships, mental health, and physical health. It can also help you achieve your goals through resilience, persistence, visualization, and affirmation. These reasons are undoubtedly convincing for pessimists looking for a sign to turn over a new leaf!
In your crusade for optimistic thinking, do consider that there are some potential pitfalls from excessive optimism. These pitfalls include poor risk assessment, which can counteract the increased achievement rate from positive thinking. Another pitfall is optimism bias, which causes you to underestimate the real risk of a negative result for a given situation.
The final pitfall to keep in mind is that many fall into while trying to increase their optimism. This pitfall is toxic positivity, which involves repressing, ignoring, or avoiding negative feelings to overvalue positive feelings. You might invalidate yourself and others and be unable to process and regulate negative emotions as a result.
Luckily, it’s not difficult to avoid the pitfalls of excessive optimism. Acknowledge the truth of problematic situations while seeking out their silver linings. Realistic approaches to optimism will give you all of its benefits and help you have a better life!