Optimism improves the quality of one’s life by making him happier, more content, and more likeable. However, pessimism harms us physically by…

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  I am not a doctor of any sort, so I do not have an education in psychology to directly support me in this; however, I have done extensive research from doctors who specialize on the subject of optimism.  One thing to keep in mind is that optimism or positive thinking is not necessarily the exact opposite of pessimism.  Optimism and pessimism are two separate ways of going through life; however, one way is better than the other.  Optimism is a great way to improve the quality of your life and it will make you feel better about yourself, therefore increasing your self-confidence. 

A man in Cambodia by the name of Narin used optimism in the extreme.  During the time this story took place, the Khmer Rouge, a communist party, had taken over Cambodia.  The Khmer Rouge remained in control from 1975 to 1979.  Narin had gone without food for five days, so he was starving to death.  The next day, he stole some potatoes from a plantation.  He got caught by the soldiers and was taken away to a Khmer Rouge camp.  There were many other prisoners at that camp, some of which he was tied to.  Later that day, a Khmer Rouge soldier with a knife went to go kill some of the prisoners.  After he had killed one of the prisoners, he started walking towards Narin.  At this time, Narin was so scared, but he thought positively.  He said to himself, “I will not die today, I will not die today.”  Surely enough, he did not die that day.  A loud voice came from someone in the camp told the soldier not to kill Narin.  This is an extreme example of some of the things that optimism can do for you, but I also believe that God had something to do with it as well.

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There is a need for more optimism in our society.  Optimism is the act of pushing out all negative thoughts from your mind, so you can stay focused and motivated.  To learn how to be optimistic, go here: http://healthmad.com/mental-health/six-ways-to-be-optimistic/  Thinking positively has appeared to help people become successful throughout different events in their lives; however, thinking positively will not necessarily make you successful 100% of the time.  Many times we find ourselves subjected to traffic jams, victims to unfair bosses, or having rotten days.  What is our first reaction to these occurrences?  Studies show that a good amount of Americans react angrily and sometimes express their disappointments dangerously when put in these situations.  This not only drags you down, but drags others down around you as well. According to Aaron Beck, a highly respected therapist, here are some of the effects that pessimistic thinking can cause: frequent complaining, a future that appears hopeless, feeling a lack of control, avoiding of challenges that appear difficult, putting down of new ideas, resisting change, feeling alone and isolated, feeling useless, constantly blaming others for everything, and using self-pity frequently.  All of these effects can lead to a stress-filled life.  In a study, stress accounts for seventy-five to ninety percent of all doctor visits.  Stress has also been linked to a cause of cancer for over 2,000 years starting with a Greek physician.  Aaron Beck also said that pessimistic thinking is the effect of unrealistic negative views of the world.  Have you ever known anyone to have such a dim outlook on life?  I’m assuming everyone here has, at one point or another, known someone to be this way.  Would you enjoy being around them a lot?  Probably not, this is because most people by nature, according to therapists, do not like to constantly hear the negative perspective of things.  Is a glass of water half-full or half-empty?  If you don’t like being around others who act negatively, then why would others want to hang around you if you are like that?  I think I can safely say that no one here wants to live their lives like that, and this is not the way we want our society to be for us and for the next generation.  Pessimism can be summed up by this single quote from an unknown author, “A pessimist is one who feels bad when he feels good for fear of feeling worse when he feels better.”

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