Does optimism hold any residual health benefits? Optimists and pessimists describe events from sharply different perspectives. An optimist views daily life in positive, upbeat terms. By contrast, a pessimist tends to emphasize negative aspects of any situation.
Whether someone sees a glass of water as “half full” or “half empty” can symbolize these contrasting viewpoints. Some current studies suggest promoting optimism offers benefits for people. A growing number of researchers now believe optimism actually forms a component of emotional intelligence. It may help ailing people by inspiring greater resilience. These findings potentially assist everyone in short-term senior care settings.
Optimism Benefits Heart Patients
Some researchers have noticed patients with heart conditions sometimes struggle with feelings of pessimism. A recent “meta study” seems to support the power of optimism as a health care tool. A research team led by a Cardiologist reviewed the results of 15 large studies about optimism and health, evaluating reports from thousands of study participants. The results suggested a positive link exists between optimism and a lowered heart disease risk.
Optimism And Emotional Intelligence
Interestingly, some experts now rank optimism as a facet of emotional intelligence. Dr. Martyn Newman, a Clinical Psychologist, describes three components of optimism. He believes this perspective involves the use of opportunity “sensing”, positive mood, and resilience.
To a much greater extent than pessimists, optimists address change by identifying potential benefits. These individuals strive to nurture and maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. They demonstrate greater resilience by refocusing their attention from difficulties onto immediate tasks at hand.
Three Tips For Cultivating Optimism
How can someone develop greater optimism in daily life, even when circumstances appear difficult? Dr. Newman suggests three strategies may prove helpful in assisting people in confronting problems with an optimistic attitude:
- 1. Look for benefits flowing from challenging situations;
- 2. Seek to learn valuable lessons from problems;
- 3. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by focusing on immediate tasks.
Applying this information proves challenging in some situations, of course. Yet the ability to perceive the beauty of a “silver lining” even in a storm cloud may actually offer tangible benefits. If optimism contributes to resilience, it may serve as a potent tool to assist patients recovering from a variety of conditions and their caregivers.