Optimism is defined as a mental attitude or a tendency to expect good things to happen in the future (Conversano et al. 2010). With the recent COVID-19 outbreak our daily routines and the many things we have taken for granted have been unexpectedly removed, thus generating increased feelings of anxiety, fear and pessimism about the future.
If the future right now seems uncertain and impossible to control, Optimism, more than ever, can play a key role in positively influencing our mental, emotional and physical health (Carbone & Echols, 2017). Optimistic people with effective coping strategies demonstrate more resilience to stress as well as enjoy a higher quality of life (Conversano etal. 2010). Optimism is also a robust predictor of diverse physical health outcomes influencing immune and neuroendocrine responses (Avvenuti etal. 2017), vital in defence against COVID-19.
There have been 30 years of research into the concept of Optimism and its proven benefits, but the greatest ally for positive mental, emotional and physical health in challenging times and every day remains you and your ability to incorporate Optimism in everything that you do and feel. Optimism does not deny the impact of certain negative experiences in our lives, nor the associated difficult emotions and feelings; it creates instead a consistent wave of hope for the future, a solid and courageous armour against whatever we are faced with and a nurturing attitude towards yourselves,others and the outside world.
I suggest that you consider embedding the practice of Optimism into your daily routine even for just 5 minutes.
The ‘best possible self-visualisation’ has been recommended by psychologists as a practice that boosts Optimism. In simple terms, it involves generating vivid images of positive events occurring in the future with you at the centre of them.
Close your eyes, sit comfortably on a chair/sofa or bed and take 4 deep breaths.
For just 5 minutes, envision yourself in the future – a future full of joy, laughter, true happiness and victory. Visualise what your future will be and feel like to you in much detail as possible.
In this future, you have reached all the goals you had set for yourself – you have travelled to your dream destination or you have set up your online business or you have started a family or are feeling better physically or emotionally.
Embedding this practice daily now will make so much difference to the future you.
Yours in health and wellbeing,
Catia Soares, Head of Mind
For more personalised or in-depth support consider our Mind services currently available remotely via telephone or Skype. The first step is a Well Mind Assessment. Informal session to make a connection and decide on a collaborative, supportive treatment plan.