Are You Optimistic and Hopeful?

Life can be difficult. We all have times when we feel challenged by things we have to do and/or relationships. Yet, it is possible to live with a centered calmness within. Your mindset or what you think about has a lot to do with your levels of optimism and hope.

Let's consider what I mean by looking at what your projections are for yourself in your personal life or career for the rest of this year. You have several options about how you might think about this question. Give this some thought, and then write a few of your ideas down.

Optimism is the tendency to take the most cheerful view of a situation or expect the best outcome considering all the realities. It does not matter whether or not the outcome is good. Being optimistic is a mindset that good or bad, you will be relatively cheerful about the outcome.

Sometimes optimism is accused of not considering all the facts about a situation. To avoid this, I prefer to be realistically optimistic. This means that you take the time to consider all aspects of information about the situation or the facts. In addition if you are dealing with a problem, you think of the situation as specifically as possible and temporary. If you are focusing on a positive situation, you think of it as global and pervasive. These thoughts will help you be realistically optimistic.

Research in Positive Psychology suggests that how you think about yourself and your situation will impact your results.  So, when you think about what you want to do for the rest of this year, it helps to think about it as a best case scenario. 

How did you do? Were you optimistic? Then notice if you were hopeful. If so, what did you hope for?

In Positive Psychology, there are many references about the importance of optimism and hope. Sometimes the words are used as synonyms. While there are similarities between these two attitudes, there are also some differences.

Hope is a feeling that what is wanted is likely to happen. According to Vaclav Havel, a writer and the first president of the Czech Republic, hope is a state of mind. He states, It is not the same as joy that things are going well…but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. Hope tends to be a realistic assessment about an issue or situation. When you are hopeful, you focus on the chance there will be a positive outcome and work towards that goal.

There are times when you might want to have both optimism and hope. For instance, if you are ill, you want to be hopeful about recovering and be optimistic because being cheerful has a more positive effect on your immune system.

However, before you decide what you may want to be optimistic about or hope for, you need to discover what is important to you. Whatever turns out to be important to you at this time in your life determines your values. Being able to live out your values helps bring happiness and meaning to your life.

Going back to my original question for you, how does this apply to you?

What are you optimistic about?

What are you hopeful about for the rest of this year?

My hope for you is that you will have several things you are optimistic and hopeful about between now and the end of the year. Focusing on these things gives your life more meaning and purpose.

Comment below about what helps you stay optimistic and/or hopeful. I enjoy responding to your comments.

Until next time,

Maurine

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