Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
When I was younger I used to suffer from frequent panic attacks. They would be sudden, painful and filled me with fear. I remember so clearly the moment I finally overcame these unexpected bouts of breathless fright.
It happened one night as I stressed over yet another big assignment for one of my classes that I had procrastinated for far too long. I felt the attack creep up on me. This time it was different. Just as I was about to bend over gasping for that first impossible breath of air, my mom said, “Don’t worry, there’s no need to worry. You’ll finish your assignment right on time. Just stay calm, everything will be fine.” It was these few simple words of encouragement that ended the attack before it really even began. These positive words of reassurance, this little bit of optimism prevented this attack and I’m glad to report virtually none have followed to this day.
If you’ve ever been told such words of positivity and reassurance in your life in the face of great stress and hardship, then you know just like I do that optimism is a powerful thing.
Optimism is more than just an outlook, it’s also a proven way to better your overall mental, emotional and even physical health. Here are a few ways being positive can benefit you.
1. Less Stress. Those who are able to stay optimistic usually experience less stress than pessimists, because they believe in themselves and their abilities, leading them to expect good things to happen.
2. Prevent or Overcome Major Illnesses. A recent study discovered that the more people believe good things will happen, the less likely they were to suffer a stroke within two years. Also, in another study, more optimistic cancer patients were seen to live a better quality life and even, to a certain extent, reduce pain associated with their illness.
3. Handle Setbacks. In a study of clinically depressed patients, after 12 weeks of cognitive therapy to reframe their thought processes to reflect a certain sense of optimism, the patients were more apt to deal with setbacks in their lives.
4. Greater Achievement. Those who believe they will perform well, whether it be in a sports competition or on a test, are actually more like to perform well. Go figure. Optimists tend to be more persistent, less likely to give up when the situation gets tough, leading them to great success.
5. Live Longer and Healthier. In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists.
6. Lead Happier Lives. Optimists are just generally happier in life. Their positive outlook leads them to more fulfilling experiences, successes and so on.
So what do you have to lose really? Be more optimistic starting this very moment.