Optimism and Health
Robin C. Hieronymus
Optimism and Health
The affects of optimism on psychological and physical health.
Optimism is the tendency to look on the brighter side of things or to expect and see the best in all things. Optimism can be linked to health as stress can cause damage to a person inside and out. Thinking positively will help you be happier, healthier and things will most likely turn out better for you as well. There are two independent types of optimism: dispositional optimism, which is similar to other personality traits, and explanatory optimism, which affects an individual's interpretation of success and failure. ...view middle of the document...
In a study that monitored the blood pressure of people doing normal activities, the results showed that a person who was optimistic had less of a chance of elevated blood pressure than a pessimist. Another study showed that optimism can lead to faster recoveries from surgeries and major accidents.
Optimists tend to experience less stress than pessimists do because they believe in themselves and their abilities and they expect good things to happen. Optimists see negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome, and view positive events as evidence of further good things to come. Believing in themselves, they also take more risks and create more positive events in their lives. Optimists don’t give up as easily as pessimists do, and they are more likely to achieve success because of it. In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists. Other studies have linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality (Scott, M.S., 2010).
Those that are happy with a more optimistic outlook on things such as life, have a healthier and stronger immunity to things. Optimists cope in ways that are beneficial to their health and reduce or eliminate stressors and problems so they can produce positive effects on their immune system. I have been stressed and worried over different situations and the more I worry, the unhealthier I get, causing my immune system to crash and then I tend to become sick and it seems as though it only gets worse from there. However, if I had been more positive, I would have been happier and therefore my immune system would be healthier as well and things would just get better from there. Those who are more optimistic seem to become more successful in life because they are more focused on their goals thinking with a clear mind and always looking with their heads up.
Optimists explain positive events as having happened because of them (internal). They also see them as evidence that more positive things will happen in the future (stable), and in other areas of their lives (global). Conversely, they see negative events as not being their fault (external). They also see them as being flukes (isolated) that have nothing to do with other areas of their lives or future events (local). For example, if an optimist gets a promotion, she will likely believe it’s because she’s good at her job and will receive more benefits and promotion in the future. If she’s passed over for the promotion, it’s likely because she was having an off-month because of extenuating...