An interesting piece of research makes me write about the connect between exercise and optimism. The results of extensive research indicate that high active individuals are significantly more optimistic and less pessimistic than inactive and low active individuals. In addition, moderately and high active groups reported significantly higher physical self efficacy and lower trait anxiety than the inactive and low active group.
People are complex and science doesn’t really know whether optimism is hardwired into an individual or it can be nurtured. I personally believe whatever be the case, you can always train your mind to look for the positives rather than dwell on the negatives in life.
Neuroplasticity is a phenomenon which forms new neural connections through repeated thoughts and actions. So if we repeat positive thoughts and actions as often as possible, we can train our brains to choose optimism even under challenging conditions. Simply put, optimism is good for both the brain and the body. And exercise and high physical activity is good for developing optimism. While many of us know and understand this, the real test though is to actually get people to do rather than just think about it!
Below are some traits of optimists and most of these correlate to people who exercise. I know this from experience.
• Optimists don’t get easily swayed by the actions and opinions of others. They tend to be strong and usually nothing can disturb their peace of mind. People who exercise regularly own this trait. They will follow their routine no matter what. They are often tested by peers, family, friends who discourage them… it can be a simple statement from your spouse: “how does it matter if you don’t exercise for one day, it’s not like you make a living as a model.”
• They don’t complain frequently. Instead talk about health, happiness and prosperity features high in their language content. They understand the meaning of wellbeing and want others to benefit from regular exercise as well.
• Optimists don’t see the glass half empty. Those who exercise regularly enjoy pushing their limits even if they fail. They are also open to learning new techniques and skills for self development.
• They don’t expect to fail. Exercisers, fitness enthusiasts and sports people always think of the best, work towards the best, and expect only the best. They know their goals aren’t easy but they are prepared to work for it. They also know there are no shortcuts to reaching their goals.
• Optimists aren’t envious. People who exercise and play sport are equally enthusiastic about the success of others. They may be disappointed at a loss, but they understand that the winner was better.
• Optimists don’t dwell in the past. Anyone who exercises regularly knows well that what was was, what is is. And this pushes them to greater achievements, whether it is an extra minute when you feel you can’t go on or the 10 pushups you thought you couldn’t do, or winning a gold medal after your last defeat!