Frequently Asked Questions
Let's talk about optimism. What's optimism for you?
"At its simplest, optimism is an expectation that good things will happen and that things will work out in the end."
Tell us about why you decided to open the Centre for Optimism and what it is?
Have a read of The History of The Centre for Optimism.
Are there any scientific studies done on this subject matter? What does science say about the impact of hope and optimism?
There are many scientific studies on the impact and value of optimism. Most of them are contemporary - within the last ten years.
Some of the most exciting are in the areas of health. See our resources on Health and Optimism
The OECD Study on Social and Emotional Skills in schools found, “Emotional stability skills are found to be the most predictive of mental health. Optimism has the highest relation to life satisfaction scores"
Research by several leading American universities and centers, have established a very strong link between optimism and longevity. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to age 85 or older.
Optimism is strongly linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular events. A 2018 study by the American College of Cardiology attributes this in part to the fact that ”Optimists persevere by using problem-solving and planning strategies to manage stressors.”
Stroke survivors with high levels of optimism had lower inflammation levels, reduced stroke severity and less physical disability according to research presented at the 2020 Nursing Symposium of the American Stroke Association's International Stroke
A 2019 University of Illinois study shows people who are the most optimistic tend to be better sleepers. Again, as the lead researcher Professor Rosalba Hernandez said, "Optimists are more likely to engage in active problem-focused coping and to interpret stressful events in more positive ways, reducing worry and ruminative thoughts when they're falling asleep and throughout their sleep cycle…Dispositional optimism—the belief that positive things will occur in the future—has emerged as a psychological asset of particular salience for disease-free survival and superior health.”
Has your work changed in terms of your mission as a result of the pandemic?
The Mission hasn't changed to help people answer what makes them optimistic and to foster realistic and infectiously optimistic leadership. We have added materials on coronavirus and extra meditations. The times call for realistic and infectiously optimistic leaders. Most people are yearning for stories of hope and optimism.
How do you cultivate the culture of hope/optimism - individually / within an organisation?
Cultivating the habits of an optimist - check out our page on The Habits of an Optimist.
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