Eunice Khong Ee Thian
I am an optimistic person. Optimism is an individual variable. It embodies the extent to which individuals hold generalized expectancies for their future. Persons with high level of optimism have better subjective well-being when facing adversity. Researches also pointed that optimism has been associated to higher levels of engagement coping and lower level of avoidance. Optimism also linked with health-protective behaviors (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010).
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I always believe that there are always good thing waiting for me ahead. I always look thing in the bright side. No doubt that disappointments and sadness will happen sometimes but I prefer to face challenges and difficulties positively and believe all the problems can be solved one day instead blamed on the problems and others. I always find ways and take actions to solve problems rather than avoid facing them. For instance, during exam, I believe myself can do well in the papers instead of failing them. As optimism also highly associated with resilience which is bouncing back power when facing adversity, I found that the intensity of my optimistic behavior is high and this lead me to have high level of resilience because I do not easily bow to difficulties.
I have born in a positive family environment. My parents are also very optimistic. No matter how difficult the situations were, they always showed me and taught me to face adversity positively when I small until now. I am the only child in my family; no doubt my parents will put the most care and attention on me. However, they do not too pamper me. They like my friends and let me make my own decisions. They respect my decisions and also will give me suggestions when I’m making decisions as some guidelines for me. The respect that they gave me made me have confident to face all the challenges positively. As an example, they let me to choose the course that I want to study and which university I want to go to further my study. They do not restrict my freedom but encourage me to pursue my own dreams. Thus, my optimistic behavior has to thank for my parents as they made me have the courage to enrich my life.
Besides that, the environment I join is supportive. I like to join with persons who have positive thinking because they make me feel active, fresh and energetic. When in school, I prefer to join friends with positive behaviors. The supports and encouragements that they gave me also is one of the reasons that made me have optimistic behavior. For instance, I have a group of friends who I used to organize events with them in secondary school. I enjoyed the moment when we organized events because no matter how tired we were, we will support each other to across the difficulties together happily but not blame on each other. This also influenced me to be optimistic.
Biopsychosocial model integrates biological, psychological and sociocultural factors for explaining a behavior. Optimistic behavior can affect a person biologically. Plenty of researches figured out that optimists have higher survival rate from illness than pessimists. Optimists tend to have better physical health and mental health compare to pessimists. This may because of optimists have greater persistent goal pursuit and active coping with stressors while confronting adversity (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). According to the study of Schou, Ekeberg, & Ruland (2005), optimists have greater fighting spirit when facing illness hence they may have better quality of life compare to pessimists (as cited in Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). I have skin allergies since I am 9 years old. It is very itchy and irritated when it started. Optimistic behavior braces me up to fight with this disease bravely as I realized that I should not tie by this issue since I have other more significant things are waiting for me to complete rather than always depress on this disease. I feel more relax and less burden when I started to view the disease from the bright side.
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Besides that, optimistic behavior also helps in coping stress. Individuals with optimistic behavior can cope with stress better and less depresses and has less adverse impact on their physical health (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). For instance, optimistic behavior helps me to survive through many exams. Exams are stressful event. I can cope with the stress during exams with optimistic behavior such as learn to relax instead of nervously prepare for exams.
Optimistic behavior also will affect a person psychologically. People will have different feelings and reactions when encountering problems such as enthusiasm or anxiety. How a person feels is related to the differences level of optimism. Optimists expect good outcomes while pessimists expect bad outcomes (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). This will influence a person attitude and behavior. Optimists will have positive attitude and behavior such as hopeful, helpful, enthusiasm and persistent. However, pessimists will have negative attitude and behavior such as hopelessness, easily give up and fragile. Optimistic behavior has helping me a lots in shaping me to become positive. According to my friends, I am the kind of happy-go-lucky and cheerful person. This behavior has helped me earn a lot of precious friendships.
Furthermore, according to the study of Sdberg Ness and Segerstrom (2006), optimists are using various types of coping strategies in confronting adversity such as problem- focused coping and engagement coping to solve problems. However, pessimists are always using avoidance coping and disengagement coping while facing challenges (as cited in Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). Optimists always learn how to solve problems while pessismists always avoid to face problems and prefer to stay in their comfort zone. For example, me and my parents tried a lot of ways to cure my allergies problem rather than doing nothing and keep on depress.
From sociocultural perspective, optimistic behavior is associated with the social environment and culture around an individual. Optimists have better social connections and easier be accepted by others than pessismists as people like someone who express positive thinkings rather than negative expectations (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010). Optimists gain more social support from the surrounding. I accepted by my frirends as I always express positive thinkings and feelings to them hence I gain supports from them.
Culture will also influence a person’s behavior, believe and thought. Individuals who in a culture which full of negative thoughts, anxiey and sadess are easily become pessimists. In the other hand, if a culture always promote positve, enthusiasm and hopeful atmosphere, individuals are more optimistic. For instance, in my family culture, my parents always encourage me to view thing from the positive side. Therefore, I learn to be optimistic after be edified by my parents.
In conclusion, my optimistic behavior is not caused by only one factor. Parents, peers and the people surroundings play an important role in helping me to build optimistic behavior. Hence, people should work together and take in every aspect such as biological, psychological and sociocultural factors as consideration in building children positive characteristics.
Carver, C., Scheier, M., & Segerstrom, S. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 879-889.
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