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Optimistic vs Pessimistic
What does Optimistic vs Pessimistic mean ?
First of all what does optimistic mean? Optimism or optimistic originates from the Latin word ‘Optimus’ or ‘Optimum’ meaning ‘best’ or best thing’. Optimism as quoted by the Oxford English Dictionary reads, ‘hopefulness and confidence about the future of success of something’ This is a nice definition of optimism, someone who is confident and hopeful of their future. Wikipedia quotes optimism as ‘an inclination to put the most favourable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome’ another great example to describe the word optimism. Pessimism or pessimistic on the other hand is the evil twin of optimism, as in every aspect of life there must always be an opposite and pessimism plays this role beautifully. The definition of pessimistic is an equal opposite to that of optimism, as quoted by the Oxford English Dictionary ‘a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe the worst will happen’ a lovely description I’m sure you will agree. Wikipedia describes pessimism or pessimistic as ‘a mental attitude in which an undesirable outcome is anticipated from a given situation’. A beautifully written explanation.
What is an example of optimism ?
A simple example would be the difference in reaction to any given situation. Our problem is a simple break down on your way to work. A pessimistic way of thinking is usually accompanied with anything from anger to rage, frustration and an almost end of the world feel. An optimistic person usually finds the advantage out of the situation, doesn’t panic knows it can be sorted and usually has patience and calmness.
Is it better to be optimistic or pessimistic ?
There have been hundreds of scientific studies done over the last few decades and have proven without a shadow of a doubt that an optimistic attitude is far more beneficial to the neurochemicals that the brain produces, many of which are associated with anti ageing properties. These exact nurochemicals that optimistic people produce more of than pessimists are the helper T-cells (‘the conductors’ of the immune system) they direct and orchestrate your immune system amplifying their responses and are now believed to be more important in immunity against viral infection and even some types of cancers. Optimistic people have a tendency to show higher, natural killer cells in the body called ‘cytotoxic cells’ these aid and help the T-cells in our bodies to kill and eliminate the cancerous cells. A pessimistic attitude will dramatically reduce these numbers of beneficial nuerochemicals and in many case we find pessimistic people have larger numbers of damaging neurochemicals associated with stresses, anxiety and disease.
More Science to back it up!
A fascinating scientific insight that everyone should be made aware of, is the discovery that everything on this planet and our entire solar system as we know, from the smallest of creatures to a shooting star, when broken down to its basic building blocks everything is made up of the same light and energy. What’s more incredible is the fact that everywhere around us this light and energy exists, even in a vacuum this light and energy exists. This you may think is not such an eye opener. However when this knowledge was used in an experiment using a strand of the human DNA helix it left the scientific world speechless. The experiment used a strand of the human DNA helix and inserted it into a vacuum tube, the light and energy that is ever present started to line up and form around the DNA strand in replication. There was further amazement when the DNA strand was removed the scientists found that the energy stayed in exact replication as the strand of DNA it had just been in contact with. We truly do have an amazing impact on the world around us with our DNA having direct influence in the light and energy that is always ever present around us.
Let’s Go a Little Deeper
To further expand on this idea that we have incredible influence on the energy that’s every present, the United States Army did some increasingly experiments involving physically fit and healthy American soldiers. After taking samples of each subjects DNA, which was then placed in a Petra dish in another room, the soldiers were then subjected to all manner of visual stimuli to induce emotional responses, the results were astonishing. Every time the soldier had a response be it negative or positive one the DNA in the Petra dish, in a different room, would have the same and equal reaction. This experiment was reproduced again and again each time increasing the distance between subject and there DNA sample, each time the results were the same, and a distance of 50 miles was recorded with still a reaction form the DNA. Incredible as it may seem but we not only have effect on the light and energy around us but that effect depends on the era emotional state the mind is in. When you meet a friend you almost always exchange DNA with them in some way or another, a hand shake, hug or kiss will all pass DNA over to the other person. Now think of these two experiments and we should be able to tell what are friend is feeling by there DNA that is present on us. An interesting thought.
What does it mean to have optimism ?
As I’m sure you are well aware by now to having an optimistic outlook on life is not just scientifically proven but it is also highly beneficial to our minds and bodies. Being optimistic is seeing things in a less stressful manner, seeing the lighter side of life, enjoying the adventure rather than worrying what’s to come. Feeling happier and more content with life no matter where you are. And being more present in the moment. Wouldn’t you rather be optimistic?
Is optimism generic or learned ?
Optimism is a thought pattern that can be taught and learnt successfully, it may be true that they’re are some people born with a more optimistic outlook on life, these guys just have a head start. Optimism can be taught and learnt successfully, just like any other thought pattern, repetition, patience and kindness to yourself go a long way.
The good news is that optimism can be implemented into your life almost instantly, the problem usually arises that we forget to implement the optimistic outlook we so promised ourselves. The most important thing to remember is that when something goes wrong or is out of our control, instead of just reacting on auto pilot, try to notice yourself in the situation and choose to think of something more optimistic and positive. Sounds easy? Right?
I promise you it really is that easy, however we have all been conditioned into doing things automatically and don’t even notice how we have reacted to any given situation. And this is why it can seem a little difficult to begin with. When I was a Buddhist monk in rural Thailand we sometimes used to ride into town in the back of an open top Land Rover with those bars for a canvas roof. Every bump one of the monks would bang his head on one of those metal bars, not once did I hear a scream of pain or abusive language, every time it happened the monk would burst out laughing. Of course I thought it was strange, until I started to change my mindset and slowly I also found I could laugh at adversity, it even feels good.
I’m sure you are in complete agreement by now, that an optimistic way of life far out ways that of a pessimistic one. The question is how do you shift your unconscious reactions from being pessimistic into optimism? Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation help incredible reduce anxiety, pessimistic attitudes, depression and past traumas reshaping the very way you react to situations. Exercises designed to relieve emotional strain and anxiety will also help develop an inner optimistic quality.
*Dhamma Tāpasā is a trained former Buddhist Monk and the spiritual name given to Andrew Hallas. Now a Life Changing and inspirational Positive Coach, a certified NLP Practitioner, Mindfulness Trainer, a Motivational Speaker and a Published Author.
Creator of the highly acclaimed “The Four Trees” a story of learning how we can all live a more fulfilled and content lifestyle.
By using his unique approach of storytelling, mixed with some ancient Buddhist Monk Secrets, 3 Simple Life Principles and all combined with 21st century scientifically proven NLP techniques, Dhamma Tāpasā is able to capture your imaginations whilst teaching you valuable Life Skills that will change every aspect of your life.
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