Would it surprise you to hear that optimistic people recover quicker from injury? That they have higher incomes, a greater circle of friends and the real bonus...they live up to 10 years longer?
Read on to find out why your optimism holds the key to success in life.
First of all, what is emotion? According to Psychology Today, the answer is not entirely clear. However for the purposes of this article, we'll simplify it to a feeling in your body. It can be pleasurable like happiness or unpleasant like worry. It’s possible to measure basic emotions like; sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise or disgust.
If you tell someone they’re being emotional, they won’t usually take it as a good thing. However wouldn’t you want to be more in touch with your body and the world around you? So the problem isn’t being emotional. The problem is being so overwhelmed by your emotions that you can’t function properly. Fortunately, how you respond to your emotions is completely within your control.
If you’re walking down the street and hear an explosion you may feel fear and run for protection all before you’ve processed what’s going on. Emotions help with decision making and ultimately serve to keep us alive.
Studies have shown that patients with brain damage who have lost connection with their emotions are unable to make decisions. Even something as simple as what to choose for lunch becomes an impossible task. That’s how important emotions are.
However, if you feel overwhelmed by an emotion you won’t be performing at your best, as anyone who’s ever had a panic attack will confirm. On the other hand, if you can regulate how you respond to emotions, you’ll be able to perform at your peak, you’ll handle stress better, be better in social situations and more able to connect with others.
Are you a dog or cat person?
If you consider dogs to be a human’s best friend you’re more likely to be optimistic.
If you’re optimistic you’ll also be more productive, have a higher income and you’ll be more satisfied with the work you do. You’ll be more likeable with a bigger social circle. You’ll be more likely to try new things and more resilient to setbacks.
Being optimistic is like having a superpower.
Part of that is feeling joy because happiness is key to optimism. You can’t stop having emotions but you can choose, and therefore control, how you respond to your emotions. For instance, Viktor Frankel chose to see the bright side of life while struggling to survive in a concentration camp. Understanding that you can choose how you respond to an emotion like fear, anger or worry puts you in a powerful position.
If you’re optimistic it means that whatever comes your way you’ll be able to see the positives. Imagine you go to the doctor and you’re given bad news. If you’re optimistic you’ll listen to the diagnosis more closely and you’ll pay more attention to the doctor’s instructions on how to recover. You’ll believe there’s a positive outcome and because of that, you’ll keep searching for the best solution. On the other hand, if you’re overwhelmed by worry you won’t be in a state to listen to the advice properly. You might start to believe the worst possible outcome is unavoidable and not be open to solutions when they appear.
Living in line with your soul’s purpose is the foundation for an optimistic outlook. When you’re living in alignment with your soul you’re doing things the way you’re meant to be doing them. You won’t be out of balance by looking for approval from others or wearing a mask to try to fit into society.
You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.
As a result you’ll be better at handling setbacks, challenges and negative feedback. You’ll have been through a dark night of the soul, done the inner work to develop yourself and be better prepared for whatever comes your way. As an added bonus, the higher vibrations are joy & love so you’ll be closer to those emotions.
An experiment was run where moods were induced in different groups by showing them film clips. One group was shown film clips which evoked a positive emotion. The other group was shown clips to induce a negative emotion. The groups were then asked to imagine an experience of a similar emotion to what they’d just watched and asked to write down as many things they would like to do as possible.
The group who watched the positive film clips came up with more ideas than the ones who watched the negative film clips.
In other words filling yourself with happy, positive emotion leads you to believe you have more possibilities, which will open up better options for success.
An easy change you can make right away is how you frame a difficult situation you're up against. Maybe you’re struggling to get clients right now. You could choose to look at this as either a crisis or a challenge. If you consider it a crisis you’ll start to think there’s nothing you can do about it, the outcome will feel out of your hands so you’ll underperform. But if you see this as a chance to rise to the challenge, believing that you’ll find a way to gain more clients you’ll feel much more in control.
“We are products of our past but we don’t have to be prisoners of it” - Rick Warren
Ultimately the ones who rise to the challenge are the ones who are more successful in life.
An optimistic attitude consists of a growth mindset, feeling like you’re in control of your life and approaching difficult situations by rising to the challenge. If you view life and everything it has to throw at you optimistically, you’ll outperform and anything you set your mind to will flow with ease!
- Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
- Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
- The Happiness Track by Emma Seppälä
- I Don’t Want to be Happy, Said No One Ever by Shadé Zahrai
- Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
- Stop Checking Your Likes by Susie Moore
- The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
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