Optimism is a word that has such powers that it can change your mind set to “I cannot do” to “I can do this” How do we do this and what does positive psychology say about this process of change? Martin Seligman (1998) the founding father of positive psychology advocates learned optimism yields a better you higher achieving you and healthier you.
The Expectancy-value theorist postulate that human behaviour is dependent upon future aspirations and goals, hereby greater the goal the greater the value. (Austin & Vancouver, 1996: Carver & Scheier, 1998). The second phase of this process is the realistic fulfilment of the goal, whereby people will pursue a goal even in times of great challenges. Leading us to how people cope with stress and it has been noted that people with great optimism cope well (Scheiver & Carver, 1992). Optimists furthermore engages in proactive behaviours that are solution based. Therefore implemented as a prevention strategy changing your bad habits into good habits before the entirety of the problem arises, therefore preventing high risks to health, wellbeing and happiness (Prochaska, 2016).
Recent researchers suggest that stop ruminating and act in a constructive way, to become more mindful and practice meditation too (Dilliard-Wright, 2017). Changing your mind set is a very powerful tool indeed. Proposing a 8 step process in which you can boost your optimism avoid over thinking, remember there is always a happy ending, get over your past, be grateful, us positive affirmation techniques, keep positive company, maintain good manners and make a mental note that there are going to be ups and downs that’s life (Owens, 2017).
Collaboration of Optimistic strategies for Professionals
Health professional such as mental health counsellors, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurses and psychotherapist can really benefit by performing the optimism strategies with patients experiencing high reoccurrences of low moods in relation to an overwhelming pessimistic perspective on life. Furthermore organizations can incorporate this positive optimistic mind set for employees to create a culture of a better optimistic workforce.
Future of Optimism
Evidence based research concluded that expectancies influenced individual levels of optimism and how they coped with challenging life events (Lopez & Snyder, 2011). The better you’re coping and adaptive skills, the more likely it is you will acquire a positive wellbeing. The importance of optimism in our society steers us towards a more positive wellbeing. Organisations such as the Optimists International encompasses the notion into a platform whereby likeminded people can connect with one another. A more organizational approach to optimism within other areas of society would I feel help build better communities, societies and a better world for all.
Lopez, S.J & Snyder, C, R, (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, Second edition, New York, United States of America, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.
Prochaska,J., Prochaska, j,. (2016). Changing to Thrive: Using the Stages of Change to Overcome the Top Threats to Your Health and Happiness. Hazelden Publishing. USA.
Seligman, Martin. Learned Optimism. New York, NY: Pocket Books. 1998.
The How of Happiness, A practical guide to Getting the life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky, 2011, Piakus.
About the author: Fizza Shah, BSc Psychology, PgCert in Applied Positive Psychology a MAPP student at Buckinghamshire New University. Her website is https://positivewellbeingassociation.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/what-are-happiness-strategies/ and Facebook group called Positive Wellbeing Association.