Become An Optimist And Beat Your Stress
It’s a scientifically proven fact that those who see the world in a “glass half full” kind of way tend to live longer, and experience less stress.
Doctors claim that a large majority of all of their patients see them for chronic stress-related health issues, so it follows that if you see the world with a positive mindset, you’ll have fewer physical and mental problems.
When researchers at Concordia University in Canada conducted a study about pessimists and optimists, they discovered a direct link between the subjects outlook on life and their stress hormone levels. An optimist’s levels are steady, while a pessimist’s soars out of control and can become unmanageable.
Optimist versus pessimist
What is an optimist? An optimist is someone who basically believes everything’s going to be okay. They don’t have a doom and gloom outlook on life, even when something goes wrong. That doesn’t mean they ignore times of distress, either. But instead of throwing their hands up in the air and giving up (and giving in) to a difficult situation, they roll up their sleeves and get to work to improve things.
On the other hand, a pessimist usually can’t see any kind of a positive outcome resulting from a stressful situation. They tend to imagine the worst possible outcome from every challenging event, and if they don’t, it’s still a situation where they believe nothing good can come of it. Pessimists are unable to accept that their outlook is what brings all of that negativity to fruition for them. For example, they go to work knowing that they’ll never get a promotion at work.
Their lackluster attitude affects the workplace. The boss doesn’t see an achiever, they see a miserable employee, so unsurprisingly they choose someone else for the promotion because they want a leader, someone who can inspire others. Alternatively, when an optimist gets passed over for the job, they analyse what went wrong so they can try and put it right for future.
Pessimists and cortisol
When things don’t turn out as planned most of us get a little agitated, but if this turns to anger or resentment etc, the body begins to produce more cortisol as a response to the perceived danger. Because pessimists tend to exaggerate the scale of life’s little challenges, their bodies are in a constant state of disharmony as their cortisol levels are permanently higher than normal.
When cortisol levels increase dramatically on a regular basis it can cause a wide range of physical ailments;-
- Heart problems. Research shows that pessimists suffer from heart disease more than optimists do. A scientific study published in ‘The Psychological Bulletin’ revealed that holding an optimistic outlook can actually protect the heart from disease to some degree.
- Depressed immune system. Pessimists often have a lower level of immunity, thereby increasing the chances of infection and diseases because their immune system is below par. An optimist has a strong, efficient immune system which protects them from disease. Researchers have discovered that an optimist’s immune cells cluster and fight off infection much better than a pessimist’s does.
- Emotional instability. Pessimists can’t handle the stress they experience, so they’re continually upset and depressed about their circumstances. It’s especially prevalent after traumatic and stressful events that they find difficult to bounce back from. Even small stressful events can be blown out of all proportions for pessimists.
- Shorter life expectancy. Not only is their whole life filled with one disappointment after another, but in the end, pessimists don’t live as long as long as their positive-minded peers. That’s probably due to their bodies succumbing to the long-term effects of stress on various organs, including the heart. Over a lifetime, that long-term stress can really take its toll.
- High cholesterol levels. The Harvard School of Public Health found in a scientific study that optimists have a healthier HDL score – that’s the good cholesterol your body needs for optimal health. So pessimists have to work harder to get their levels up.
- Inability to see the ‘Silver Lining’. The so-called silver lining can help you manage your stress levels. Pessimists see no such lining, whereas an optimist always does. This is how optimists learn from challenging events in life, helping to prevent them again in the future.
All of this obviously causes a lot of stress and tension which can eventually manifest as physical ailments. This alone is a big enough reason to try and leave pessimistic tendencies behind. And let’s be honest, – most of us can be a little pessimistic from time to time.
Not necessarily born an optimist
Some people mistakenly believe that optimists are born that way. But this isn’t always the case. It is you that chooses how you look at life’s various ups and downs, and sometimes you have to learn new ways of handling difficult situations if you’re not experienced in that particular area. But that’s how we all grow and become stronger.
Of course this doesn’t happen overnight. But if you recognise that you’re a pessimist, or if others are constantly telling you that you’re being negative, it is possible to make an attitude readjustment and turn over a new leaf. When things go wrong, instead of sliding into a stressed, anxious state of mind, try to remain positive and believe in your ability to work through the situation.
Essential oils for positivity
Aromatherapy can be helpful when making the transition from being a pessimist to becoming an optimist. In fact, research has proven that essential oils have have a positive effect on mood, and there are plenty of ways to use essential oils to dispel negativity and promote a more positive attitude.
Some of the best essential oils to help you work through the transition towards positivity include;-
- Bergamot – fights negativity
- Frankincense – eases fear of change
- Geranium – balancing to the emotions
- Juniper berry – cleanses negative emotions
- Laurel leaf – helps build confidence
- Neroli – fights negativity & uplifts spirits
- Orange Sweet – emotionally uplifting
- Palmarosa – combats fear
- Patchouli – grounds and strengthens emotions
- Rose – calms the anxiety and panic caused by changes in life
- Vetiver – emotionally grounding and balancing
All of these essential oils also help to combat stress as well as working towards becoming more optimistic. To use them simply add a few drops of your chosen essential oils to a burner or vaporiser to fill the room with their uplifting aroma. Alternatively, you can add up to eight drops of oils to a warm bath, agitate the water to disperse the oils, and slip into the water and relax.
Take control of your life
Remember that you don’t have “bad luck”, as many pessimists seem to believe. You have control of your life and the outcomes as much as everybody else. Obviously some things can’t be controlled, such as being late to work because of a traffic jam. But you can control the time you leave for work the next day to avoid the heavy traffic the next day.
If you are a pessimist, try surrounding yourself with positive people, and let their mindsets have an influence on you, lifting you up to a better place. Avoid all the negative news in the media – that’s enough to turn us all into pessimists! Train yourself to be a glass half full type of person. Whenever you encounter a negative situation that stresses you out, stop, take a deep breath, and consider how it can be turned into something positive.
And then reach for your essential oils!
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2020. Written by Sue Charles