Effects of Optimism on Psychological and Physical Health

Effects of Optimism on Psychological and Physical Health Heather LaBombard PSY/220 The definition of the word “optimism” is a favorable attitude about conditions or events in life. Some believe that optimistic views in life will have beneficial effects on psychological and physical health. However, excessive optimism can have harmful effects on psychological and physical health. Many tests and research have been done on people to see if optimism does in fact have an effect on psychological and physical health.

According to one of the articles that I researched about the effects of optimism on physical health suggested that people who have an optimistic view tend to engage in health-promoting actions such as: not smoking, not drinking alcohol, watching their diet, using sunscreen, taking vitamins, and other health-related actions. According to the Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior Management (2004) there have been studies on people who optimistic about their lives and the studies have shown that the optimistic people are less likely to become sick or to develop a disease as a person who is pessimistic.

In a study that monitored the blood pressure of people doing normal activities the results showed that a person who was optimistic had less of a chance of elevated blood pressure than a pessimist. Another study has shown that optimism can lead to faster recoveries from surgeries or an accident. . However, a person who has an optimistic view may think that everything will go his or her way and that nothing can go wrong for either one of them. This could lead them to taking behavioral risks, such as: engaging in unprotected sex, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking cigarettes and not taking care of their general health.

I know that when I have been pessimistic about events going on in my life I have started to think unhealthy. I tend to become sick more often when I do not have a good attitude. When I do think optimistically I am full of energy and I act like I am happy. In my personal opinion I agree that optimism has an impact on physical health and it could be negative or positive. Optimism plays a part in psychological health. According to the article that I researched about the effects of optimism on psychological health optimists face challenges more effectively than pessimists and therefore benefit psychologically (Wimberley, Carver, & Antoni, 2008).

The article is about women who have breast cancer and how optimism plays a role in their well-being. Optimism is associated with a lower level of distress on breast cancer patients. Studies show that optimistic women who have breast cancer feel physically attractive (Wimberley, Carver, & Antoni, 2008). The breast cancer patients were also optimistic about interpersonal relationships, which is also psychologically rewarding. Studies have shown that optimistic people have better interpersonal relationships and social support; therefore are more optimistic about their illness because they believe that they have a support system.

An optimistic attitude about learning about the education of breast cancer also showed that the women had a better sense of well-being. Although being optimistic in life is good for psychological well-being, it can also bring some ill effects for a woman who has breast cancer. According to Pinquart, Frohlich, & Silbereisen (2007) a woman with breast cancer may develop an optimistic attitude about the diagnosis of breast cancer and expect a good outcome about side effects and the treatment. This does not happen very often, which could lead to psychological distress.

I agree with both aspects of effects on psychological and physical health. A person who has a good attitude toward life in general tends to lead a healthier life physically and psychologically. However, having too much optimism in life may be damaging to a person’s physical health and psychological health. As long as optimism is used in a positive way, a person can lead a happy and healthy life. References OPTIMISM, PESSIMISM, AND HEALTH. (2004). In Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior Management, Sage. Retrieved from http://www. credoreference. om/entry/sageeohabm/optimism_pessimism_and_health Pinquart, M. , Frohlich, C. , & Silbereisen, R. (2007). Optimism, pessimism, and change of psychological well-being in cancer patients. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 12(4), 421-432. doi:10. 1080/13548500601084271. Wimberly, S. , Carver, C. , & Antoni, M. (2008). Effects of optimism, interpersonal relationships, and distress on psychosexual well-being among women with early stage breast cancer. Psychology & Health, 23(1), 57-72. Retrieved from CINAHL Plus with Full Text database.

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