Mindfulness is linked to Optimism!
Optimism has an important role in ‘mind-body’ medicine. Research shows optimism is a mind-state that can directly affect both physical and psychological well-being. For example, a doctor could rightly encourage her patient to develop a more optimistic attitude to protect the health of her heart -- or to extend her longevity.
Here’s a 2021 study that has more good news about optimism. It also shows that optimism is linked to mindfulness!
In 2020/21, psychologists from a Dutch university interviewed 569 online participants. They wanted to learn more about mental health during the COVID pandemic — especially the effect of people's ongoing worry and fear during that time.
Participants in the study explained to researchers they were feeling afraid for their own health, worried about infecting others, fearing mass panic, worried by prolonged lockdowns, ongoing restrictions and supply shortages.
Participants were asked to take a standardized test, “The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale”. This test evaluated their levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. In particular, they were asked questions about their experience of negative emotions during the previous week.
Participants also answered 3 more tests. These measured positive traits: optimism, resilience, and various qualities of mindfulness. (Note: The test for optimism was the same LOT-R test that we considered in last week’s email.)
Participants who tested high for optimism, mindfulness and resilience showed lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Even though these participants also had their COVID problems and concerns too, they still had less negative emotion. Their mindfulness and optimism were associated with less negative emotion, more emotional resilience.
In the study's report, a section of statistical analysis showed how traits of optimism, mindfulness, and resilience were found to be inter-related. These mind-states are connected through their shared qualities.
People who tested high for optimism also tested high for mindfulness. And mindfulness and optimism were both associated with resilience.
In their analysis of the study, researchers highlighted the strong evidence that mindfulness qualities were associated with less depression, as well as less anxiety.
MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) is a research-proven way to help people learn and deepen their mindfulness.
To your natural happiness!
Optimism, mindfulness, and resilience as potential protective factors for the mental health consequences of fear of the coronavirus
Lisa M.W. Vos, et al; Psychiatry Research 300 (2021)