Welcome to Blog 1 in the 2-part Optimism and Acceptance Mindset Blog Series. My name is Quincy McNamara, I work with Adaptas and I’m currently undertaking a Master’s Degree in Organisational Psychology. Blog 1 in this series focuses on introducing the ‘Optimism and Acceptance Mindset’. Please continue to read Blog 2 for actionable tips in adopting this Mindset successfully.
Positive pop psychology peddles blind optimism – no matter what the situation, always remain positive. This toxic positivity that has circulated mainstream pop psychology is not good for our health. Denying our emotions is detrimental for both our body and mind. A 2013 study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester showed people who bottle up their emotions increase their chance of premature death from all causes by more than 30%, with their risk of being diagnosed with cancer increasing by 70%.
Whilst optimism has been shown to promote longevity, and has myriad health and social benefits, staying optimistic in light of real struggle, despair or tragedy is not realistic. Acceptance is where positive psychology falls short. Acceptance means perceiving your experience and acknowledging it rather than judging it as good or bad. The way in which we can live meaningful lives with as little unnecessary suffering as possible is the adoption of an Optimism and Acceptance Mindset.
Hope for the best, accept the worst
This is a simple analogy to convey what I mean when I speak of adopting the Optimism and Acceptance Mindset. Be an optimist but accept the fact that there are certain things in life beyond your control, and that of which you can’t control – you must learn to accept.
It’s important to adopt a glass-half-full mentality. There are numerous reasons for this. Having a positive attitude can help you keep from getting sick, especially when dealing with stress. In one study, researchers found that optimists generated more antibodies and were better able to reduce inflammation. This is merely one of the many benefits that lend itself to being an optimist, others include having strong social relationships, being viewed as more likeable, better romantic relationships, experiencing more positive emotions and higher levels of life satisfaction.
As for acceptance, you must accept the situation that you are in. Resistance is the root of all unnecessary suffering, so accepting that of which we cannot change will eliminate a lot of the suffering we experience. You must be able to reassure yourself that everything in life happens for a reason. Whatever burden you are facing isn’t accidental. You must simply look at it as an opportunity for a new beginning.
Optimism and Acceptance – opportunities, not challenges
When we incorporate an Optimism and Acceptance Mindset, challenges present themselves as opportunities – obstacles that can be overcome. This, in turn, will help us to become more resilient in every aspect of life. Resilience is the ability to overcome hardship and is vital for our personal development. It is the spring that allows us to bounce back when times are tough. Without it, we would fold whenever life throws us a curveball.
Next week, blog 2 will delve into how to successfully adopt the Optimism and Acceptance Mindset, make sure to join us then to learn some really valuable actionable tips!
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