The influence of everyday experiences on the development of optimistic or pessimistic attitudes of h

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The influence of everyday experiences on the development of optimistic or pessimistic attitudes of h

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Our survival and wellness require a balance between optimism and pessimism. Undue pessimism makes life miserable; however, excessive optimism can lead to dangerously risky behaviors.

A review and synthesis of the literature on the neurophysiology subserving these two worldviews suggests that optimism and pessimism are differentially associated with the two cerebral hemispheres.

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High self-esteem, a cheerful attitude that tends to look at the positive aspects of a given situation, as well as an optimistic belief in a bright future are associated with physiological activity in the left-hemisphere LH.

In contrast, a gloomy viewpoint, an inclination to focus on the negative part and exaggerate its significance, low self-esteem as well as a pessimistic view on what the future holds are interlinked with neurophysiological processes in the right-hemisphere RH. This hemispheric asymmetry in mediating optimistic and pessimistic outlooks is rooted in several biological and functional differences between the two hemispheres.

The RH mediation of a watchful and inhibitive mode weaves a sense of insecurity that generates and supports pessimistic thought patterns.

A person can be optimistic in regard to a specific area of life e. People also may shift positions on the optimism-pessimism continuum as the timeline unfolds. Some people, more than others, have a consistent tendency to think, feel and behave, regarding most aspects of their lives, in a way that is unbalanced and inclined toward one of the extremes on the optimism-pessimism continuum; we call them optimists and pessimists.

An optimistic person sees good things everywhere, is generally confident and hopeful of what the future holds.

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The pessimist, on the other hand, observes mainly the negative aspects of everything around. Thinking of all the potential dangers and pitfalls on the way, the pessimist is likely to have little hope for the future.

Consequently, the pessimist tends to remain passive when encountered with a challenge, believing that his efforts are futile anyway. As the main theme of this article is optimism and pessimism as experiential phenomena, whether they are expressed briefly as a mood, a temporary state of mind, or as a continual attitude, i.

Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health.
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Successful living requires a fine balance between optimism and pessimism. Over-optimism may encourage one to take uncalculated financial risks that will end up disastrously [ 1 ]. Similarly, over-confidence may lead to negligent and reckless behaviors - e. Therefore, the optimal equilibrium is a cautious optimism which is firmly grounded in reality [ 2 ].

Is it possible to study optimism and pessimism in an objective, methodical and scientific manner? An operational definition of optimism and pessimism is anticipation of good or bad things to happen in the future, respectively [ 3 ].

The influence of everyday experiences on the development of optimistic or pessimistic attitudes of h

Researchers have developed a set of scales that enable ranking people along the optimism-pessimism continuum in a fairly accurate manner. These self-report questionnaires comprise several statements about real or hypothetical events e.

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Like all other human experiences, these basic mental attitudes of optimism and pessimism are closely interlinked with distinct physiological processes. Converging evidence from psychology, physiology, psychiatry and neurology suggest that the two cerebral hemispheres are differentially involved in mediating the fundamental approach to life.

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Pessimistic views are generally mediated by the right-hemisphere RHwhereas optimistic attitudes are mediated primarily by the left-hemisphere LH. This article presents the variety of ways that this lateralization of optimism and pessimism is manifested in the thoughts, feelings, decisions and behaviors of healthy and unhealthy people.

In addition, the article discusses the biological origins of this laterality.Sep 30,  · Pessimistic views are generally mediated by the right-hemisphere (RH), whereas optimistic attitudes are mediated primarily by the left-hemisphere (LH).

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This article presents the variety of ways that this lateralization of optimism and pessimism is manifested in the thoughts, feelings, decisions and behaviors of healthy and unhealthy .

The one process ongoing that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. Multiple studies have investigated the role of optimism in people undergoing treatment for cancer (e.g., Carver et al., ; Schou, Ekeberg, & Ruland, ).

These studies have found that optimistic people experience less distress when faced with potentially life-threatening cancer diagnoses. EconTalk: Russ Roberts Mon, 05 Nov EST Author and Physicist Alan Lightman talks about his book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

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