- Stephanie Duguid
Better living through optimism
By Guest Columnist Stephanie Duguid
March is National Optimism Month.
Considering the past pandemic and other trials and tribulations in all aspects of life, it can be a challenge to remain optimistic in our attitudes. Everyone falls somewhere on the sliding scale between pessimism and optimism. There are advantages to each, but on the average, optimism is a far better option. Optimism has so many benefits and can enhance your life in numerous ways.
You might not consider yourself to be an optimistic person, but that’s not true. You’re simply a regular person lacking an optimistic perspective. With practice, you can change your perspective!
With optimism come many tangible benefits to your life:
1. Longevity. Many scientific studies have shown that those with a more positive attitude are more likely to live a long life. What a simple way to enhance your health and your longevity. Be determined to find the bright side of things as you go throughout your day.
2. Happiness. Unsurprisingly, optimistic people tend to be happier, too. If you live with high expectations, your mood will be better than that of someone who lives with low expectations. Since everyone wants to be happy, it only makes sense to give optimism a try.
3. Less stress. When you’re optimistic, you experience lower levels of stress. When you believe that things usually work out fine, they usually do!
4. Solutions. Optimistic people are more focused on solutions than they are on their challenges. This is because they actually believe a solution exists and that they can find it. Pessimistic people, on the other hand, tend to believe that there’s no hope, so they don’t try to find a way out of their predicament.
5. Likeability. Would you rather be around someone who is all doom and gloom, or would you prefer to spend time with someone that believes good things are going to happen?
6. Productivity. Optimistic people are able to accomplish more each day. Why would you work long and hard if you didn’t think things were going to work out for you? The hardest workers are often the most optimistic.
7. Confidence. When you have high expectations, that’s a form of confidence. You believe you’re going to be successful. That’s essentially the definition of confidence. You can’t be pessimistic and have self-confidence at the same time.
8. Persistence. A positive belief about the future is a breeding ground for persistence. People who give up quickly do so because they don’t believe a positive outcome is likely. Would you be more likely or less likely to keep trying if you expected to fail? What if you expected to win?
9. Stable mood. Pessimism is stressful. When you’re stressed, your mood is less stable. The most stable people are also very optimistic about their future and their abilities.
10. Success. If you’re more productive, happier, less stressed, live longer, have more confidence, and are persistent, success is the logical result.
11. Strong relationships. It’s easier to get along with people and to be a good friend and a good partner if you’re optimistic. To whom would you rather be close to, someone positive or someone negative?
Is a person born optimistic? Who knows? However, one thing is clear. Anyone can choose to be optimistic. Optimism is a deliberate choice that you can make each day. It’s simple. All you have to do is to try to find the positive perspective. Ask yourself questions that fuel a positive perspective, such as:
● What is great about this situation?
● What can I learn? What can I get out of this?
● What is good in my life right now?
Tell yourself that you’re going to have a great day. Look for solutions rather than focus on your challenges. Choose optimism as a way of life. With so many incredible benefits to be gained, why not give optimism a serious effort for a month? You’re going to like the way you feel!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Stephanie Duguid is Dean of Academic Instruction at Co-Lin. She is also an athletic trainer and nutrition specialist and has been teaching courses related to those two areas as well as practicing what she preaches for more than twenty years.