When we were young, the world was an exciting and magical place. There were no worries to be found and every goal we set was plausible. However, somewhere along the line, things changed. The world now seems much grimmer then it did back then. With all of the terrible things going on around us, it can be easy to have a pessimistic view of the world. Looking around, it seems that many people do. Although slipping into this dark way of thinking may be becoming the default, maybe it’s worth the effort to try and see the positives in life.

Optimism has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Individuals who adopt this mindset are often deemed as “delusional” and “naive.” These are overgeneralized and oftentimes inaccurate assumptions. Being optimistic doesn’t mean you unaware of the negatives; it means you have consciously chosen to seek out the positives. Although many may sneer at this mentality, it may be the key to achieving the one thing that we all seek: happiness. Much of the skepticism toward optimism stems from a basic lack of knowledge of what it really means to be optimistic. According to the Mayo Clinic, optimism is “the belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are temporary setbacks to be overcome.” This definition alone puts to bed many of the misconceptions many people have about optimism. It isn’t rejecting reality or refusing to accept the world around us; it is simply hoping for the best in life. Us optimists are fully aware that things aren’t always going to turn out well, but choosing to focus on the positives makes life much more bearable.

Adopting an optimistic mindset does more than just give you a sense of hope. There are many mental and even physical benefits that go along with it. According to the Mayo Clinic, having a long-term optimistic mindset reduces the risk of depression, betters your cardiovascular health and even strengthens the immune system. It’s amazing that just thinking positively can have such a great impact on all aspects of the body. Not surprisingly, a negative outlook on the world comes with some pretty serious consequences. According to the Cleveland Clinic, constantly having a pessimistic point of view can keep stress chemicals in your brain active for extended periods of time, accelerating your body’s aging process. That fact alone should be enough to make you turn that frown upside-down.

Aside from the numerous physical benefits that arise from being optimistic, there are many other advantages to be gained in your professional life. According to the US National Library of Medicine, optimists are more likely to set goals and follow through with them than pessimists. This is due to a heightened level of adaptive self-regulation. This enables individuals to set realistic yet still ambitious expectations for themselves during goal setting and action stages. The added “you can do it” mindset also adds to an optimist’s confidence and level of self-motivation, both of which are crucial when working to achieve a goal.

In conclusion, optimists are far from the innocent, unrealistic people everyone makes them out to be. They are fully aware of the good, the bad and the ugly. They just choose to focus on the good. Even though they may catch flak from individuals who cling to the negatives, their lives are far better because of their hopeful attitudes. People who choose to see life in this way reap countless physical, mental and emotional benefits. With all of these advantages, maybe we could start to see the world as an exciting and magical place again.

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