The emergence of psychology as a core discipline has introduced a lot of construct variables relevant to everyday life and our general well-being.
Some lay down ways people should react, behave and respond to certain issues, environments, contexts, and hypothetical inventions in the form of whatever was the meta-theory of the time of which optimism is one of them.
However, optimism is the predisposition to achieve satisfactory outcomes from an environment, task or assignment. Furthermore, it is the tendency to believe that we will generally understand good versus bad outcomes in life. It is accepted that this belief is a stable characteristic available to all individuals.
Over the years, research has shown that individual differences may differ in how we respond to optimism, that is, across various life purviews and domains. Asking individuals to specify the amount to which they trust if their future outcomes will be good or bad is a way to measure optimism.
Hence, there is an expectation that good outcomes will occur even when confronted with major obstacles. The availability of optimism and possessing these attributes makes us optimists, that is, people who tend to hold positive expectations for the future. This can be beneficial in several ways to us and others around us.
Improves coping mechanisms
The persistence of optimists is not self-destructive, however; optimism is also associated with and help with behavioural elasticity in coping with life stressors, such that we uncouple from tasks or assignment that are hopeless, and unproductive and shift our attention to more manageable problems rather than proceeding with a doggedness to that which may be non-productive.
In coping mechanisms, as optimists, we can make use of emotion-based strategies such as humour, positive reframing and acceptance to lessen the impact a problem might have or when a problem is unresolvable or uncontrollable to make use of it after targeting the problem directly.
Generally, social support in a perceived manner appears also to reflect stable, persistent beliefs about the likelihood of upcoming behaviour. However, before actual support is even necessary, perceived support can lead an individual to judge or evaluate a situation as less stressful because the individual expects that they will be able to draw on others’ help to cope with the stressor, lowering the demand for objective support or other managing.
Hence, being an optimist can help us to recognise support and beliefs that show some consistency across multiple domains. For instance, we can see a romantic partner as a very supportive friend when in an actual sense, they may not be or possess qualities that should make them be.
Optimal development is required for shaping and maintaining an optimistic style of interpreting the experiences of success and failure. Social competence and emotional health can be promoted through thinking positively about daily events. However, optimism can serve as our treasured emotional and open source that is associated with enhanced social competencies.
Dispositional optimism further can help us in improving self-efficacy, positive relationships, and performance, In this instance, optimistic college students can hold higher expectations when they develop their competencies and observe their environment as less threatening and this can impact how they perceive their worlds and more likely to result in future success.
Increases self-esteem level
Based on psychological attributes, optimism, and self-esteem are constructs which have a positive influence on the well-being of individuals on a general level. Self-esteem is the feelings of worth or the self’s value which tie intrinsically with positive expectancies and outcomes found in optimism.
Further, as regards healthy living, studies have shown that individuals with low self-esteem reported more physical health problems like delays in healing and a higher tendency of being depressed.
Hence, having optimism can help us increase our low self-esteem to a high one and being optimistic may serve as a buffer and great advantage to our health and mental difficulties, especially in a competitive, challenging, and stressful environment.
However, from the above evaluation, a global predisposition to be optimistic will typically manifest itself in a variety of more specific ways in particular times or situations over and above any dispositional tendencies.
Having those optimistic beliefs may be activated or diminished by short-term factors which may influence our health behaviour and lifestyles like recovering from illnesses, healing from a traumatic experience or events, gaining a healthy desired body weight, helping us in assessing different coping strategies, boosting social support networks and many more.
Onah Caleb is a research assistant at Benue State University (Nigeria). He runs the blog KaylebsThought.