Originally posted in our July 2021 Top of Mind Newsletter.
Now that we understand that we’ll all go through a period of self-doubt in our work and understand the importance of finding meaning in that work, where do we go from there? How does this knowledge impact us in the day-to-day and our overall well-being?
Research over the past few decades has taken the tie between mental and physical health into new territories. We’ve known for a while that anxiety, depression, and pessimism can negatively impact our health. But this more recent research shows that it isn’t simply the absence of the negative that leads to healthier living. Some studies are finding an association between optimism and physical health.
This association has been explored in various settings, which bolster the association between optimism and cardiovascular or physical health. It’s important to note that “[t]he takeaway from these studies is that all of our mindsets, emotions, and moods are adaptive in some contexts but not in others. The key is temperance and balance and being resilient and flexible depending on the circumstances. Optimism doesn’t mean blind optimism.”
The last line of the quote is essential. A dash of realism is important to act on our optimism, and therefore create the meaning we are seeking.