It’s pretty much inevitable that we have to deal with stress from time to time, because life happens. From a pet misbehaving to fighting with a partner, stress is all around us each and every day. However, research from Boston University has found that looking on the bright side of things might be connected to improving your wellbeing. According to a new study, being more optimistic is tied to better emotional wellbeing, specifically later in life.
Researchers followed 233 men who answered a questionnaire about optimism. Then, 14 years later, they reported on their daily stressors along with their moods — both positive and negative — over the course of eight years. It turned out that the more optimistic participants had lower negative moods and also reported more positive moods. They also reported having fewer stressors, which helped to inform why they had lower levels of negative mood.
They also found that the men who were more optimistic were often older in age, were more educated and also endorsed fewer daily stressors.
Although the study found that being optimistic was not related to emotional reactivity to or recovery from daily stressors, it’s worth noting that the study was pretty limited in scope. Aside from using all-male participants, the men were mostly white, and all had a higher socioeconomic status than the general public.
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As part of their discussion, researchers argued that optimism may “protect emotional [wellbeing] through the use of emotion regulation strategies that limit exposure to, and possibly perception of, potentially distressing situations.” So the next time you’re feeling not so great, it might just be worth it to try and have an optimistic outlook, if you can.
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