Pessimism vs. Optimism: How Mindset Impacts Wellbeing

Life experiences are seen through our filters.


The way we present our thoughts to ourselves is a major aspect of how we react.

Pessimism, optimism, and realists are three distinct and interconnected explanation styles.


ReelNat will explain these mindsets and their connection to the state of our psychological health. It is important to keep an eye on us as we look at the ways our attitudes influence the way we navigate across the globe.

Do you have a cup that is half empty or full? The answer to this question can tell a lot about your health, overall health, and overall happiness. In a time where the world could really benefit from it, it is important to be positive. Positive people are not just happier to spend time with, but research indicates that they’re more healthy, have better results at school, age more gracefully, and are less depressed. They also deal with life’s challenges with greater efficiency.

What Does Optimistic Mean?

An optimistic person means looking for the most favorable outcome in any situation. The attitude of the optimist tends to reflect the conviction that the outcome will be beneficial or desirable. Optimistic people have more confidence when dealing with life’s challenges, and they’re extremely forward-looking. They also possess an internal sense of control, which means they are in charge of their choices and are aware of how the choices they make today will affect the future.


Since optimists believe that they can take on anything life throws their way, they’re more likely to have better mental, physical, and social well-being levels. But, this can cause them to take on higher levels of stress due to their ability to see opportunities and possibilities.


What Does Pessimistic Mean?

A pessimist is someone who is inclined to believe that only bad outcomes will occur. Contrary to optimists, they possess an external control point, believing that external influences like fate or the natural environment can cause things to be impossible.


Pessimists tend to focus on their past experiences, and it is difficult to believe that they will overcome any obstacle; this leads to a lack of confidence and a tendency to judge any actions taken by others as personal. Additionally, when issues present themselves in the life of a pessimist, they are much more inclined than optimists to see problems as recurring events.

Positive research suggests that pessimists might be more likely to undertake preventative measures to prevent health problems due to their ability to envision all the possible scenarios that could be wrong.

Pessimism and optimism are learned, which means that you can alter them.

The majority of people do not come from families with an optimistic or pessimistic view of the globe; It’s a learned behaviour. Learned either through the experience of others or from other people who tell us our character: “You are a great runner, you are a winner, you are a loser, you are useless, you are not good at maths, you are a great musician, and so forth.”

The most commonly used terms to describe this situation are Learned Hilarity and Learned optimism. The best part is that since this behavior can be taught, it can also be unlearned.

Signs Of Optimistic Thinking

  • You believe that positive things will occur in the near future.
  • You’re expecting things to go as planned.
  • You think you’ll be successful despite the challenges of life.
  • You believe that the future is bright.
  • You believe that even positive events can be a result of negative circumstances.
  • You see obstacles and challenges as learning opportunities.
  • You are thankful for the good things happening in your life.
  • You’re always seeking ways to maximize your opportunities.
  • You have a positive outlook regarding yourself and others.
  • Accept responsibility for your mistakes, but do not think about them.
  • Do not let one unfortunate incident cloud your hopes for the near future.

There are many variables that influence optimism, but whether you’re more optimistic or more pessimistic can be explained by the way you interpret the events in your life.

Signs Of Pessimistic Thinking

  • It’s a pleasant surprise when things turn out to be a success.
  • Don’t chase what you want simply because you believe you’ll not succeed.
  • Always think about what could be wrong in a particular situation.
  • You believe that the risk usually outweighs the benefits.
  • You suffer from an imposter’s syndrome and cannot appreciate your abilities.
  • You are more likely to dwell on your weaknesses or shortcomings instead of your strengths.
  • It is common to be frustrated by people’s optimism.
  • You often engage in negative self-talk.
  • You believe that everything good will end at some point.
  • It is simpler to settle for the status quo rather than change things to make things better.

Although you might not be able to experience all of these or think like this every day, pessimists usually participate in all kinds of thought to a certain degree.

The Optimism-Pessimism Spectrum

Psychologists see optimism and pessimism as a spectrum, with all of our perspectives and personalities positioned somewhere in that range. On either side of the range, the purest pessimist might be unhappy, while the true optimist could be numb to reality.

The majority of people fall somewhere between the optimism-pessimism spectrum.

Everybody has their ups and downs in their thinking, which can be more positive or negative. The effects of life and the impact of experience and time influence our perception of optimism or pessimism.

They may also be more optimistic about one aspect of life than about the other. People’s moods and attitudes tend to be towards one or the other end of that spectrum, which results in personalities.

There are many reasons certain people develop an overall negative or positive personality, for example:

  • Genetics
  • Family dynamics
  • Past experiences
  • Environmental and social aspects.

How to Practice Optimism

If you’re optimistic, it will bode well for the future. The more negative events are likely to be thrown off your back, while positive events reinforce your faith that you can create positive outcomes today and in the future and see the beauty of life.

Practice Optimism

The research suggests that genetics influences approximately 25% of optimistic levels, and other environmental factors that are out of your reach, like your socioeconomic status, play a crucial role as well. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve your outlook.

If you tend to have an optimistic or pessimistic style of explanation, some things can be done to develop a more positive outlook; this includes:

Develop a more mindful mindset: Mindfulness is the practice of being present, alert, and in the moment. It is a great way to focus on the important things in the moment and not worry about the future or things beyond your control. If you’re living completely in the present, it is less likely to think about the negative experiences of your past or worry about future events. This lets you be more content with the present and less weighed down by anxiety and regrets.

Do your best to practice gratitude. It is described as a feeling of appreciation for what is significant in your life. A study showed that those who were required to keep a gratitude journal had higher optimism and determination. If you’re trying to cultivate a more positive outlook, you should set aside an hour or so each day to record your favorite things.

Note your positive thoughts. Studies have shown that as easy as noting positive emotions can boost your confidence. A study showed that writing with an emphasis on positive emotions can lead to less mental stress and improved mental well-being.

Also, it is possible to create the ability to develop. Pessimistic people can learn to be optimistic by examining their responses to the challenges they face in a new way and actively challenging self-talk that has negative effects.

Cognitive Restructuring

Through a process known as cognitive restructuring, it can help you and others to be more positive by confronting negative self-limiting thoughts and changing them to more positive thought patterns.

Cognitive restructuring has various stages:

  1. Find out what situations trigger negative emotions or moods.
  2. Check how you are feeling right now.
  3. Find the negative thoughts you are experiencing as a result of the issue.
  4. Examine the evidence to either back or disprove your negative beliefs.
  5. Be focused on the facts and replace your automatic negative thoughts with more positive, realistic ones.

Read More: The 80/20 Rule: How It Works and How You Can Apply It In Your Life To Get The Best Results

Read More: The Daily Habits of Highly Successful People

Read More: Control Your Mind ~ Control Your Life

Impact of Optimism

There’s been a huge amount of research conducted on pessimists and optimists. Studies have shown that having a positive outlook has certain advantages.

Better Health

Research consistently shows that those who are optimistic tend to have healthier physical and mental health than pessimists.

Greater Achievement

Psychologist Martin Seligman, the founding theorist of positive psychology, studied teams of athletes and discovered that teams that were more optimistic had more positive synergy as well as performed more effectively than more pessimistic teams.


Positive people don’t give up more easily than pessimists and tend to be more likely to attain the success they desire. Positive people tend to be more inclined to keep striving for their goals regardless of difficulties, hurdles, and defeats. This kind of perseverance ultimately means they will be more likely to achieve their goals.

Emotional Health

The research suggests that cognitive therapy (which involves reframing one’s thinking processes) is as efficient as or more effective than antidepressant drugs for treating clinical depression.7 These improvements are also likely to last, indicating that they’re more than a temporary cure. People who receive this type of training in optimism seem to be more capable of handling the possibility of future setbacks.

Increased Longevity

Other studies have demonstrated positive breast cancer patients had a better quality of life than hopeless and pessimistic patients.

Less Stress

Optimists are also more likely to have less stress than realists or pessimists because they are confident in themselves and their capabilities, and they expect positive outcomes to occur.


Potential Pitfalls Of Optimism

A positive outlook is generally a quality that can bring a variety of mental and physical health advantages. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t susceptible to certain risks. A few ways in which optimism can be harmful are:

  • A bias toward optimism: The tendency to be over-optimistic can cause people to believe that they are more likely to experience positive things while avoiding negative ones. The optimism bias indicates that people underestimate the likelihood of experiencing negative results. This could lead people to take risky actions, which can increase the chance of experiencing a negative result.
  • Unskilled risk analysis: If someone is too confident regarding something, they might have a harder time taking into consideration all the possible risks and taking measures to reduce the risks. It could also increase the chance that their efforts will not succeed or face major difficulties during the course of their endeavors.
  • Toxic positive feelings: People can be prone to valuing positive feelings more than negative ones and ignoring or suppressing negative feelings. It also causes people to deny the emotions of those who are experiencing difficult circumstances.


Optimists can steer clear of some of these issues by keeping an appropriate, rational approach to positive thinking. Instead of focusing on “staying positive” and ignoring other emotions, the aim should be to keep an eye on the bright side and be aware of the challenges of the present.

There are numerous ways to change our thinking to encourage a healthy and positive approach to solving problems.

Optimists vs pessimists: Is This Glass Half Empty?
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