Optimism can be defined as the non-empirical belief that positive circumstances will result from uncertain or even negative circumstances—in other words, it is the expectation that good things rather than bad things will generally happen. On the surface, that sounds like a positive way to live. But there’s a significant flaw in viewing the world optimistically. What happens when reality doesn’t live up to our optimistic expectations? Optimism claims, “Everything will be all right!” But what if everything isn’t “alright”?
To achieve optimal health and well-being, we must not only pay attention to how we care for ourselves physically, but we must also attend to our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being and happiness. This may involve questioning long-held beliefs and ways of being in the world that no longer serve us.
For example, most of us worry from time to time—and some people worry most of the time. But the reality is that worrying is a futile activity. Worrying about world events, other people’s lives, or even your own life has no effect on outcome. In fact, worrying does nothing except create fear and unhappiness in the precious moments of your life. But interestingly enough, while worrying doesn’t ever improve a situation, cultivating an attitude of happiness and trust can.