Learned optimism can change your life
3:59:18 2023-09-11 188

We all know one of those people who is endlessly optimistic. They’re the ones you might jokingly refer to as “Pollyanna” or accuse of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.

But have you ever considered how your life might be different if you took a page out of their book and learned to be a little more optimistic? If you knew it would change your life for the better, would you be willing to give it a try?

The good news is that even the most pessimistic people can cultivate more optimistic behavior.

So, let’s look a little more closely at what learned optimism is and why it matters. Then we’ll cover some practical tips and exercises to help you become more optimistic.

What is learned optimism?

Learned optimism is a process by which you learn to recognize habitually negative thoughts, and then challenge them. Challenging your pessimistic ideas helps you reframe them into new, more positive beliefs.

Learned optimism can improve your mood and well-being, boost your self- esteem, and encourage more positive behaviors. This makes it a useful strategy for overcoming difficult situations or navigating tough times. It also helps you to improve your overall mental fitness.

Over time, learned optimism can help you improve your outlook on life and see yourself and the world in a more positive light.

The term was first coined by one of the founders of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman. But why is optimism so important? Let's find out.

A summary of Dr. Seligman's book

In 1990, Seligman published his book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. In it, he described the concepts of learned optimism and learned helplessness.

His early research into learned helplessness showed that optimists handle bad events better than pessimists. He also discovered that both styles could be learned and began focusing on learned optimism.

Dr. Seligman described three main differences between optimists and pessimists:

1. Permanence: Pessimists see negative events as permanent. Optimists view them as temporary.

2. Personalization: Pessimists blame themselves when things go wrong. They link good events to external factors or luck. For optimists, it's the opposite.

3. Pervasiveness: Pessimists have a gloomy outlook on every area of their lives. Optimists don't let failure in one area of their life affect how they feel about another.

Seligman also discovered that optimists enjoy better physical and mental well- being. He found that optimism is often a deciding factor in professional sports and that optimism can be more important than talent when it comes to career development.

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