Optimism and Health Benefits of Optimism Most of us understand that maintaining a positive perspective helps in accomplishing difficult tasks, but how does this frame of mind directly influence us? We know that failing to remain positive when facing a challenge may lead us to give up due to a lack of positive expectations about our current situation, but optimism provides specific benefits for our psychological and physical health.
Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. Published online May This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License http: This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Positive and negative expectations regarding the future are important for understanding the vulnerability to mental disorders, in particular mood and anxiety disorders, as well as to physical illness. A significant positive relation emerges between optimism and coping strategies focused on social support and emphasis on positive aspects of stressful situations.
Through employment of specific coping strategies, optimism exerts an indirect influence also on the quality of life.
There is evidence that optimistic people present a higher quality of life compared to those with low levels of optimism or even pessimists. Optimism may significantly influence mental and physical well-being by the promotion of a healthy lifestyle as well as by adaptive behaviours and cognitive responses, associated with greater flexibility, problem-solving capacity and a more efficient elaboration of negative information.
Optimistic individuals are positive about events in daily life.
Optimistic subjects tend to have more frequently protective attitudes, are more resilient to stress and are inclined to use more appropriate coping strategies. Optimists believe that positive events are more stable and frequent than negative ones.
They think that they can avoid problems in daily life and prevent them from happening, and therefore they cope with stressful situations more successfully than pessimists [ 34 ]. The optimistic bias has been defined as the result of the joint efforts of two mechanisms. This overiew is an attempt to explore optimism concept and its relations with mental health, physical health, coping, quality of life and adaptation of purpose, health lifestyle and risk perception.
Recent studies have found an inverse correlation between optimism and depressive symptoms [ 78 ], and also between optimism and suicidal ideation [ 9 ]. As such, optimism seems to have an important moderating role in the association between feelings of loss of hope and suicidal ideation [ 10 ].
In relation to this, Van der Velden et al. The results of this research show that compared to optimists, pessimists nurtured little hope for the future and were more at risk for depressive and anxiety disorders, with subsequent impairment of social functioning and quality of life.
The role of optimism in the quality of life has also been investigated in depressive disorders emerging in patients suffering from somatic pathologies, such as acute coronary syndrome, for instance in which a significant inverse correlation was found between dispositional optimism and level of satisfaction in life on one hand and depressive symptoms emerging after the cardiovascular event on the other hand [ 12 ].
Evidence regarding this subject has emerged also from studies carried out on victims of catastrophic events such as natural disasters. In fact, it has been observed that even one single session of cognitive-behavioural therapy, targeted at enhancing the sense of control and coping with incapacitating disturbances that ensue after a natural disaster, may contribute to improving the well-being of the individual [ 14 ].
Many studies have found that optimism is correlated with better physical well-being compared to pessimism. Moreover, in contrast with optimism, pessimism is correlated with excessive somatic complaints [ 15 ]. In a study on a population of elderly subjects of both sexes, aged between years, Giltay et al.
These data have been confirmed in a subsequent longitudinal study on a population of males aged between 64 - 84 years in which an inverse correlation was reported between dispositional optimism and the risk of cardiovascular death [ 13 ].
In reference to oncological patients, Schulz et al. Among patients with neck or head cancer, optimists manifested significantly greater survival a year after diagnosis when compared to pessimists [ 19 ].
In a recent study, Ironson et al. Although optimism is commonly believed to be a protective factor with regard to well-being and physical and psychical health [ 1 ] some research has suggested that this is not always the case.
Also studies concerning the immune system turned out contrasting results. The results of their research indicated that both types of optimism were associated with an improvement of the symptomatology of AIDS.
Nevertheless, in the long term, high levels of optimism, in particular, of the attributional type, were associated with a significant impairment of the immune defence system. Segerstrom [ 2425 ] examined two hypotheses that may explain these results: The other is the engagement hypothesis theorizing that more optimistic individuals are more easily drawn to trying to resolve a problem while pessimists tend to let the matter drop, thus ending up more exposed to stress.
As such, in cases of severe illnesses like AIDS, when associated with the elevated levels of cortisol and adrenalin that typically present when faced with stress, optimism may actually determine a decrease in the defence mechanisms of the immune system.
From the early studies of Scheier et al. Despite a certain amount of dissent, other researchers confirmed the first results.Find a peer reviewed article which discusses the effects of optimism on physical and psychological health. (You may need to find two articles in order to cover both .
May 14, · OPTIMISM AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. From the literature here reviewed, it is apparent that optimism is a mental attitude that heavily influences physical and mental health, as well as coping with everyday social and working life.
Scheier MF, Carver CS. Self-regulatory processes and responses to health threats: effects of optimism. Peer Reviewed That Discusses The Affects Of Optimism On Physical Health Optimism and Health Melanie Chapman PSY/ April 7, Kathleen Sturgess Optimism and Health In this paper we will be discussing the effects of optimism on both physical and psychological health.
Finda peer reviewed article which discusses the effects of optimism on physical and psychological health. (You may need to find two articles in order to cover both the physical and the psychological areas).
Search Harvard Health Publishing. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood. the fact that diet appears to play a role in mental as well as physical health (as well as dementia) must be taken very seriously. Optimism is a factor that works to prevent physical illness by controlling stress levels that affect the functioning of our immune system.
Armata and Baldwin () concluded that optimism worked to reduce stress levels that intensified physical digestive problems through the use of efficient coping mechanisms.