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Positive Education: Optimism

Teresa Robertson —

Are you a learned optimist? That doesn’t mean you have always been a pessimist. Most of us are brought up to have a healthy scepticism about things and to see things objectively or critically, appraise situations from many angles and consider different scenarios. That can mean we also include the "worst-case scenarios".

Being introduced to and including Positive Education in our school means that we interact with and advocate for positive psychology and in that process encourage the culture of optimism.

Science of Optimism

Optimism is associated with a healthier life. The Science of Optimism tells us that healthy longevity is based on genetics, wealth and possibly geography. To quote studies at the American Heart Association, the trait most associated with healthy longevity is optimism. Pessimism, anxiety and negative emotions adversely affect our organs.

Optimists sleep better and conversely, if you sleep longer and better, you will also be more optimistic.

Victor Perton a founder of the ‘centre for optimism’ https://www.centreforoptimism.com/, highly recommends a practice called “My Best Self”.

It involves visualisation of you in 1-5-10 years hence. We are asked to:

  • assume we have accomplished everything we plan to do and spend ten minutes writing about that day in our life.

  • Then spend another five minutes reflecting on that future day.

  • Practising this exercise now and again has proven to boost people’s positive emotions, happiness levels, hope, improve coping skills and elevate positive expectations of the future.

Image by: Victor Perton