Mental Wellness Wednesday: Why optimism plays a key role in mental health

The first Thursday in Feb is Optimist Day to encourage us to be positive for a day. Optimism is different from Blind optimism Optimism doesn’t mean that you ignore life’s stressors. However, you approach challenges in a Proactive way (healthier coping mechanisms).

This trait starts in a person’s childhood:

- if the home environment is supportive and loving, they will tend to have a more positive outlook, even if they are a tendency to feel anxious.

-If the home environment is chaotic and turbulent, this mindset can be the first to diminish

Researchers suggest that you can learn optimism:

1. Left brain thinking – Brain imagining studies show that an Optimistic mindset recruits the left side of the brain – the Language Center. So today, say 1 thing that you are hopeful/optimistic about

2. Optimism loves company – Optimism is catching, according to Harvard research! So be intentional about who you spend time with

3. Try a dose of pessimism.

While optimism is a good thing, if you have “blind optimism”, you may underestimate the likelihood of a negative outcome, which can lead to failure in a new venture. A study covering 18 years of data found that optimism was associated with lower earnings for those who are self-employed; compared to those who were pessimists. WHY? because they overestimate their chances of success, while underestimating the likelihood of failure.