When you’re optimistic, the world seems like a better place. And when you’re in a less than cheerful place, it affects your perception, and there’s more to it than just your own emotional experience.
Your overall attitude can significantly affect, even cloud your perception. Research published by scientists from the Stanford University and the University of New South Wales proved that the way you see, even remember others doesn’t depend as much on first impressions after all. The problem is whether you got up on the right foot.
The studies and testings
The testing included 52 people, and they were put through mood manipulation, half men and half women. Glass half full participants included in the research had more positive results.
The ones with negative attitudes created a negative attitude towards the subjects of the study. Not surprising, but you must understand that being optimistic has effects on your relationships, not just your perception of self.
When you’re joyful, your concentration zooms out, “paying attention to the globality of concepts, situations, or objects.” Basically, you tend to find the silver lining, and see the bigger picture. That alone gives you more reasons to feel joy, which means that positivity is contagious.
The neuroscience behind all of it
The study wasn’t based primarily on psychology. The focus was neuroscience, and it proved the influence of various parts of the brain. The neuroscience behind the survey involves the parts of the brain involved in connecting the cortex with the limbic system, the site involving basic emotions.
Moods have a direct connection with perception and thought. Your spirit will lead you to recruit the areas of your cortex needed to deal with a particular problem. If your mood is positive, you’ll be able to choose which parts of the brain to recruit – internal vs. external. If your spirit is negative, you’ll essentially bypass the exterior for the inner.
Optimistic people had a more challenging time letting go of positive stimuli, people, objects, or experiences. So, while being all bright and shiny will help you see life in more vivid colors, it’s perfectly normal to experience gloomier days.
When you have trouble letting go, you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly annoyed, and that’s why you need flexibility. It’s never black and white, but focusing on the good is always a winning idea. Allowing yourself to feel while maintaining hope that things will be alright is natural, and apparently scientifically correct.
Negativity attracts negativity
While you can’t be happy 24/7, you can be miserable all the time, by choice. The negative-mood participants of the study recalled more of the negative qualities they were told about than the positive ones. So, just like optimism, negativity is contagious, but it’s also dangerous territory.
When you’re optimistic, you experience moments of disappointment, but you are always keeping in mind that things will work out in your favor. So, positivity brings you various emotional stages, while pessimism brings misery. And more distress, not much in between.
What can you do?
Yes, you can put yourself in a better mood. It’s simple, effective and all you need is some self-love and kindness. Happiness isn’t just an emotional experience but an emotion that can shape the way you perceive the world.
Noticing, but laughing at small annoyances during the day, is a healthy way to be present, yet not to allow your overall perception to look beyond what’s right in front of you.
Choosing to be happy influences the way you look at that world. The ultimate choice is up to you, so you better learn to be more accepting of everyone, especially yourself.