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10 Reasons To Add Optimism To Your Life

Science shows there are big benefits to looking on the bright side.

The idea that positivity and optimism enhance your quality of life is hard to argue with, especially once you realize how many benefits a positive outlook can bring.

Life is Good founders Bert and John Jacobs have built their business around optimism. In their book, “Life is Good: The Book,” they wrote: “Optimists are able to view rejection as an opportunity to adjust and improve, embracing the chance to learn, grow, and try again.” We teamed up with Life is Good to give you some compelling reasons to add more glass-half-full thinking to your life today.

1. It can help you change your life.

Part of the ability to change your life is believing that you can — optimism in a nutshell. Albert Bandura, one of the most-cited psychologists in the field of optimism, once wrote, “Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to influence events that affect one’s life and control over the way these events are experienced.” To translate: If you can believe it, you can achieve it. 

2. It can strengthen immunity and defend against stress.

Having a positive attitude can help you keep from getting sick, especially when dealing with stress. In one study, researchers found that optimistic people generated more antibodies and were better able to reduce inflammation. In another landmark study, researchers followed a group of law students over time and found that those who were more optimistic had a stronger immune response than those who were more pessimistic. When the same students were feeling less optimistic, their immune response was weaker, showing that our outlooks might influence our body’s ability to respond to illness.  

3. It’s good for your relationships.

According to a 2006 study, having at least one optimist in a relationship may lead to a more fulfilling and long-lasting partnership. Participants in the study who were classified as “optimists” viewed their relationships as more satisfactory and their partners as more supportive. What’s more, 75% of relationships involving optimists were still a couple a year after the initial research, as compared to only 54% of couples that included pessimists.

Kelsey Hosain and Jordan Silva are traveling to China this summer. Kelsey will be teaching a seminar on living a more environ
Kelsey Hosain and Jordan Silva are traveling to China this summer. Kelsey will be teaching a seminar on living a more environmental conscious life, specifically regarding the food we eat.

4. It can help you be a successful innovator.

Intel founder and inventor Robert Noyce once called optimism essential to innovation, asking, “How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?” Optimists are also big-picture thinkers. They are less impacted by recency effect — the tendency to remember the last item in a list or the last instance in a series of events the clearest — and more likely to look into the future, see a bright outcome and work toward it.

5. It can make you a better leader.

Winston Churchill spoke about the importance of positive thinking, saying, “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.” A positive mindset in business has shown to keep employees engaged and to help people face challenges. Optimists make for ideal leaders because they can envision a better future, have the confidence to make changes that actualize a better future and rally others around their vision. 

Tom O'Keefe has created a foundation, Stride for Stride, that sponsors low-income runners, getting them to the starting line
Tom O'Keefe has created a foundation, Stride for Stride, that sponsors low-income runners, getting them to the starting line of marathons across the country.

6. It’s good for your heart.

A 2015 study showed that the most optimistic subjects were more likely to have intermediate or ideal cardiovascular health, as compared to their less optimistic peers. Having a positive outlook seemed to be linked to less inflammation and healthier habits the study found, meaning the optimistic patients were more likely to exercise and not smoke, among other factors that could contribute to heart disease. 

7. It will help you age well.

To enjoy life more fully ― and longer ― as you get older, it helps to have a positive attitude. At the end of an eight-year study, Harvard researchers found that the optimists in a group of research subjects were more likely to be free of major chronic disease, to have avoided major memory impairment, to be more mobile and were better able to take care of themselves than the most pessimistic group. The optimists were even more likely to live longer.  

Buddies Randy Kiessig and Eric Wood are best friends who have been working in I.T. together for years. Randy has a 16-year-ol
Buddies Randy Kiessig and Eric Wood are best friends who have been working in I.T. together for years. Randy has a 16-year-old dog that recently went through some medical issues, but has fully recovered, while Eric is expecting his first child in September and can’t wait to meet her.

8. It can help you on the job hunt.

As it turns out, the secret to succeeding in your career might just be believing you can. One study showed that while optimists don’t necessarily earn more money than their less optimistic peers, their post-graduate job hunts were less intense, and they were more likely to have been promoted two years after graduation.

9. It can help you form healthier habits.

If you want to stick to a healthy lifestyle, try looking on the bright side. One study showed that optimistic people were 15% more likely to keep up with a routine of vigorous physical exercise over a six-year span than their pessimistic peers. Additionally, another study showed that research subjects who self-identified as optimistic were more disciplined with sticking to a prescribed low-fat eating plan as compared to those who self-identified as less optimistic. 

10. It’s contagious.

Mary Lou Retton once said, “Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” Research has found that people with happy friends are more likely to be happy themselves — an effect dubbed “emotional contagion,” the idea that individual mood and outlook can influence a group. The saying goes that a rising tide lifts all boats, and science would seem to back that up. 

Olive Ives-Flores is an artistic entrepreneur, who founded a boutique creative agency over 5 years ago, dedicated to connecti
Olive Ives-Flores is an artistic entrepreneur, who founded a boutique creative agency over 5 years ago, dedicated to connecting artists and brands to create exciting experiences. 

 

From Life is Good:

Life is Good is on a mission to spread optimism and make the world a better place. They donate 10% of net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to help children overcome the negative impact of trauma, poverty and violence. Every night at the dinner table, Life is Good founders Bert and John Jacobs’ mother, Joan, would say, “Tell me something good that happened today.” Inspired by their mom, and in honor of the brand’s 25th anniversary, they’re encouraging others to do the same. For each #SomethingGood shared, $1 (up to $1 million, through 11/30/19 at 11:59 p.m. EST) will be donated to help kids in need. Learn more and share your #SomethingGood here.

This article was paid for by Life is Good and co-created by RYOT Studio. HuffPost editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.

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