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  3. Optimism and its Impact on Mental Health

Optimism and its Impact on Mental Health

Release Date: January 18, 2023

Mental health is an important part of your well-being. Mental health includes your emotional, social, and psychological wellness.  It helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. According to research, optimism is linked to better physical and mental health outcomes. It can also promote a sense of well-being during difficult times.

Mental health, hope and optimism are intimately related, and can be reinforced with these simple daily actions.

  • Focus on your strengths. Take time to identify and explore your individual strengths. This can foster a sense of hope and resilience.
  • Reframe negative thoughts. In difficult situations, identify your negative thoughts and the resulting effect they have on your feelings, physical symptoms, and behavior. Relabel negative thoughts as opportunities for growth and energizing resources to explore.
  • Practice hopeful thinking. A focus on hopeful thinking enables individuals to reengage in pleasant activities and improve self-talk. Hopeful thinkers take intentional action to achieve a desired positive outcome.
  • Surround yourself with hopeful and optimistic people. Evidence reveals that both positive and negative emotions are “contagious,” so carefully choose your social environment and interactions. Surrounding yourself with hopeful and positive people can, by “emotional contagion,” lead you to feel that way about yourself.
  • Practice gratitude. Simple practices like journaling, positive self-affirmations, or sending thank you notes can bring sanctity and authentic happiness.

View the National Library of Medicine, Positive Mental Health article to learn more about strategies that cultivate an optimistic and hopeful mindset.

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Support

Do you want to improve your resilience and optimism? The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. Licensed EAP counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide support, resources and expert guidance on mental health coping strategies.

The EAP is a free, voluntary, and confidential employee benefit available to you and your eligible family members. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 01/18/2023
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