3 Final Ways Optimism Adds Joy to Life

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”  ~ Helen Keller

3 Benefits of Practical Optimism #7-9

The following are the last 3 ways this series explains how practical optimism leads to a better life, filled with more joy and more happiness.

7. Practical Optimists Raise Happier Children. Think about it. If you grow up with musical parents playing all sorts of instruments and singing beautifully, you will more likely grow up being musical than if you grow up with musically talentless parents who never even play the radio much. Don’t believe me? Go ask Miley!

So it is with other traits as well. Growing up with negative pessimists will likely leave an emotional and attitudinal imprint of negativity and pessimism. Growing up around praise and positive attitudes of optimism will equally more likely produce children who will, over time, be optimistic and positive as well.

And, by the way, if optimism is an important factor to human decency and goodness, as I contend here, we parents have a moral obligation to increase the likelihood of raising kids of sound character by raising more optimistic children too. (See LIFE by the LESSON for more on raising moral kids).

8. Practical Optimists are Psychologically Healthier. Optimists report feeling more emotionally stable. Studies have long indicated optimism reduces stress and increases the sense that life is good, that they are loved, and enjoy healthier relationships.

And it makes sense too. If life seems good, if options are available, if the future seems bright, there would be fewer neuroses and pathologies than in those without such a sunny view of things and the future.

9. Practical Optimists are Physically Healthier and Live Longer. There has been some real recent data on optimism and health. All of it is revealing. Since optimists feel better about life and living, they also tend to take better care of themselves, eating better and exercising more.

But even more fascinating is the growing understanding of the connection between mind and body. For some time now, there have been writers on this subject. But increasingly, Western science has begun endorsing much of it.

What has been found? Optimists enjoy reduced hypertension and they experience a reduced likelihood of cardiovascular disease. There are also positive signs elsewhere in the medical literature that points suggestively to reduced likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, better focus and concentration, and improved longevity.

In cancer patients, ages 30-59, for example, pessimism played a significant factor on their mortality rates. In other words, optimists who had cancer outlived the pessimists who had cancer in the study. So it’s true, not only do optimists enjoy life more, with more happiness, they enjoy it longer too.

Summary

Thus it is. The benefits of developing an optimistic world view, an habitual positive attitude about life and self and the future are huge. And I only listed 9 of them! There are others. We will revisit the topic another time.

In summary, practical optimists tend to be happier than non-optimists. They deal with pain and suffering better than pessimists. They are more enjoyable to be around, and therefore make better spouses as well. They succeed in life at a higher rate and make more money and advance up corporate ladders more often. The have happier, better adjusted children.

Optimists tend to be both psychologically and physically healthier, and therefore live longer than their negative brothers and sisters. And because practical optimists populate this world of ours, life is lived just a bit better by all the rest of us as optimists give and bless and serve with greater frequency and regularity.

So go hug an optimist!

Afterthoughts

But for now, I invite you to reacquaint yourself with life. See the world with new eyes, with eyes that are freshly endowed with an understanding of the role of optimism and happiness and a rich, fulfilling and immensely rewarding life. Joy is the natural result of enjoying life. So look around and appreciate all that surrounds you! See all of God’s creations with a gracious attitude.

Expect trials and tribulations, pain and sorrow, and even some degree of real suffering. All such are inevitable. Such difficulties are supposed to be part of our experience here in mortality.

But self-induced pain by way of dark and dreary glasses we pick up and choose to wear is not what life was supposed to be like. But since not all people deal with tragedy the same way, we can learn new ways of encountering and engaging life too, even during times of great sorrow.

Life is beautiful. Not because there is no ugliness. But because there is also an abundance of beauty. And while ugliness fills most TV news spots and newspaper headlines, there is far more beauty that goes unreported every single moment of every single day.

It is all around us, behind closed doors, in homes and offices and factories, and classrooms and hospitals and churches and at parks and in restaurants and in innumerable organizations arranged to serve and bless and support and transform.

It also resides in the hearts and minds of good people everywhere. And probably in you! Think on that! And go and be happy, just one day, one principle, and one step at a time!

Please leave a comment about your experiences with either optimism or pessimism. What other benefits are associated with optimism, or conversely, with pessimism? Lend us your thoughts!