‘Life is not always a bed of roses’, it is therefore easy to be a pessimist, but it takes little more effort to be an optimist, and reframe the saying ‘life is beautiful’.
As it is said ‘You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses’
Positive thinking is strong, impactful and effective, and with that understanding when we choose to hold our hopes and aspirations, then we are choosing to be optimistic. Pessimists are fearful and are always in the anticipation of something bad. Pessimism is negative and discouraging, while Optimism is positive and feel a good way of life. Optimist bears a strong attitude to face a problem, and look beyond the negativity.
American Professor of Psychology, Sonja Lyubomirsky, categorised three different levels of Optimism:
- Very small optimism: Positivity at the minimum level, moving with a belief of general goodness in life.
- Little optimism: Optimism about daily situations or happenings, sees the bright side in every individual small and big situation
- Big optimism: High level of positive feeling, with the perspective that everything is going good and will be good always.
So, at which level are you?
Famed researcher Elaine Fox, called optimism and pessimism as a part two different brain circuits, renamed them as the sunny brain and the rainy brain respectively. According to Fox, the part in the brain responsible for the sunny thought pattern is the nucleus accumbens, which generates feelings like motivation, hope, pleasure, reward etc. While the rainy brain is centred around the amygdala, which reacts and responds to threats, fear and negativity.
Positive psychology pioneer Martin Seligman focused on “optimistic explanatory style,” the way we explain events in our head, determines the level of optimism because he stated“ Optimism is about more than feeling good; it’s about being engaged with a meaningful life, developing resilience, and feeling in control. Our explanatory style about any situation or circumstances determines the general feeling in our mind, which is either optimist or pessimistic. Seligman divides our explanatory character into three parts:
- Permanence: Optimist holds the belief that bad days are not permanent, they will come and go. While the pessimist sees bad days are a result of permanent causes.
- Pervasiveness: Optimist sees every situation as an individual. Causes of failure in a particular area, say, any work project is assumed to be because of some reasons for that area itself and sees bright perspective in other areas. While a pessimist outlook is completely the opposite and loses overall hope in all aspects.
- Personalization: Optimist takes the responsibility of good events to themselves, and attributes bad events to other external causes, while a pessimist takes the responsibility of bad events on them, ignoring any good aspect relating to it.
No thinking pattern is permanent. It’s a part of habit formation. With constant and consistent effort one can change to be optimistic. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones and taking care of mental health, one can opt to be optimistic. Staying motivated, getting indulges in activities that promote well-being, one can choose to live a more meaningful life.
Happy Living !!
This is my 15th post, alphabet ‘O’, for the ongoing #blogchattera2z Challenge, 2019.