Embracing the glass half full: The power of optimism

By Umurungi Gisele
On 14 December 2023 at 09:44

Some people say that optimists die young, something which is scientifically proven to be wrong. But even if that was true, I would say ‘at least they have lived and not simply existed’. Because after all, isn’t it just better to live a short happy life than a long, sad one?

Suppose you are attending a meeting and tea is being served. Upon looking inside your cup, you recognize that there is only a small quantity of tea. Would you complain about your cup being unfilled, or would you just embrace the warmth of the tea as you take a sip after another?

While a pessimist will always look at a rainy day and think of how it ruined their plans, an optimist will look at every drop that falls and fantasize about how flowers will bloom because of that same rain. Optimists will always believe in a successful plan, a beautiful tomorrow and a blissful future.

According to science, optimism is beneficial not in the way one gets out of trouble, but in the way they react to stressful events. Optimists will always find a positive lens to view things through, which in the end, will bring bliss into their lives. If we dive in, we’ll find more benefits of optimism:

Optimists live a good long life. This might be due to the fact that optimists are thought to engage in healthy behaviors like eating well, laughing a lot, working out, etc. These behaviors are believed to boost their immune system and improve their cardiovascular life which in return extend their lifetime.

Apart from that, optimists’ bodies produce a small amount of stress hormones, and in the end, this prevents the accidental increase in their blood sugar and developing diabetes.

Optimists achieve a lot. I am sure you know at least one person who gives up before they even start something. To be honest, how can you get something if you’ve never tried it? According to Albert Einstein, ‘a person who never made a mistake has never tried anything new’. Through this and a positive mind, an optimist tries out everything, be it difficult or almost impossible. This makes them learn a lot and achieve a lot.

Adding to all these, optimists tend to be emotionally healthy. Just close your eyes and picture a person who always sees the good in every situation.

Even if their loved one is in the operating room, they are as calm as a beautiful ocean. On that note, how would they ever be emotionally unwell if nothing ever stresses them? Because after all, emotional wellbeing dies when we are overwhelmed by stress of any kind.

Some people are blessed enough to be born as optimists that they don’t have to put any effort into it. However, it is not so depressing if you’re not one. As long you want to become so optimistic, here are tips on how to practice it:

Practice gratitude

Yes, there are a lot of things that we lack. But what if we were to take a look at what we already have? Aren’t they precious and worth our gratitude? By appreciating little things, we train our minds to be grateful for whatever life brings in front of us.

Don’t blame yourself when things go wrong

Always remember that mistakes happen in life. We are only humans, making mistakes is a part of our life and it is the only way we can learn new things.

Remind yourself that setbacks are temporal

Everything passes. If you get a small grade in your CAT, for instance, always remember that you can do better tomorrow. You can just create improvement opportunities instead of blaming yourself. Remember beating yourself up only brings wounds.

Reward yourself

Whenever you achieve or do something, be it big or just small, give yourself credits. Recognize your efforts and appreciate yourself. Buy yourself something if you can and if you can’t, at least call yourself cool names.

In this life where things happen and fall out of our hands, it is only right to accept and appreciate what is already here, especially now that we know that not everything can be changed. With an optimistic mind, changing what we can and being grateful for what we have is almost all we need to live long with a smile on our faces.

In the face of a rainy day, a pessimist laments the disruption to their plans, whereas an optimist envisions the blossoming of flowers with every falling raindrop. Photo iStock