Optimism: What is it and how does it affect our aging?
Optimism is a mental attitude or world view. Optimists have a tendency to make lemonade out of lemons. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass with water at the halfway point, where the optimist is said to see the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty. Being optimistic reflects a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable, and desirable. Optimism is a choice, not a method and it works for everybody. By believing in a positive future, you are one step closer to happiness, peace and enjoyment. So being optimistic is being the creator of your destiny, don’t allow harmful forces to impact it.
Martin E.P. Seligman (2006) in his book “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” refers to three particular modern forces, which are responsible for causing an epidemic of anxiety and depression among us: The lack of unity by intensely focusing on individual characteristics; Social media boom and the absence of real relations; and People’s priority on developing self-esteem. Research has led to an unpleasant revelation people who disregard other people’s feelings and believed that unwarranted high self-regard is a good thing, were more prone to violence, criminal behavior, and even murder.
Why should we develop a more optimistic explanatory style that can lead to something better? Optimism is not a method for disposable use. It is a concept or an evolved mind-set capable of seeing the best in any situation. Our inner voice inside our heads is a tricky business. Our inner voice can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. It all depends on how you perceive different life circumstances and unpleasant situations. You surely have found yourself in a pessimistic funk and supported by helplessness and weakness. The pessimists see negativity, while optimists have a broader perspective. The pessimists are continually setback, while the optimists see it as life lessons. We tend to take life too seriously. Optimists have a different attitude towards problems, for them, they are just temporary.
Seligman has good news for us as we age. You can learn optimism by resisting those negative sensations that arise on a daily basis. Some people may think that optimism is positive thinking, but they are not quite accurate. Optimism is life, it is not a feeling. It is a path that everyone should take. Seligman offers his readers useful cognitive techniques designed to change your mind set by giving you the real sense of optimism. His key elements of “Learned Optimism” is to create a balanced life, deal with defeats and failures, and care for the community over your life cycle.