Comprehensive Study Shows Americans Remain Optimistic in Troubled Times
Uniting a Divided Country: Optimists and Pessimists Alike Call for More Compassion, Honesty
13 Sep, 2018, 08:00 ET
BOSTON, Sept. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Eight-five percent of Americans consider themselves optimistic, according to the 2018 Life is Good Optimism and Positivity Survey. However, that general positive outlook is not enough to compensate for an adverse view on the state of the world, according to the survey of 3,000 Americans that also showed fifty-four percent (54%) of respondents reporting anxiety stemming from two key factors: heightened violence and an unstable economy.
Overall, forty-four percent (44%) of respondents report being more optimistic now than they were five years ago. Most attributed the change to stronger personal relationships. Strength of optimism was roughly even across gender and regions of the country.
The study was commissioned by positive lifestyle brand Life is Good as a way to underscore the power of optimism in everyday lives. The 2018 Optimism and Positivity Survey evaluated the level of optimism vs. pessimism across the United States and linked outlooks on life to lifestyle habits, in order to form a complete picture of the American optimist.
According to a 2017 study from the Pew Research Center, Americans are more divided on fundamental values than ever before. However, according to the Life is Good Optimism and Positivity Survey, 86% of Americans are hopeful for a more positive future, albeit a kinder, gentler one: Both self-identified optimists and pessimists think the world could use more compassion (63%), honesty (62%) and love (57%).
"The study shows that even with a constant barrage of negative news, Americans stay true to our national sense of optimism and resilience," says Bert Jacobs, Life is Good co-founder and CEO. "Our hope is to bring attention to the power of optimism as a unifying force, and as a practical strategy for personal and professional growth."
According to Tali Sharot, professor of cognitive neuroscience, University College London and a leading expert on human decision-making, optimism and emotion, the study results align with what her research has revealed about humans - "the optimism bias." We are hardwired to view the future through rose colored glasses, especially as it relates to our personal circumstances, or in Sharot's terminology, "private optimism."
"This study confirms that private optimism is resilient, even in the face of anguish over public events," says Sharot. "We know that people tend to be optimistic about their own prospects even if they are not so optimistic about the future of their country. We've seen this in the past, and are now seeing a similar psychological response to current events."
Additional Key Findings*
- Optimism ages like a fine wine, or vintage apparel – 18- to 29-year-olds are 9% less likely to be optimistic than 60- to 69-year-olds.
- Stay in school - Higher education contributed to a brighter outlook on life, with 82% of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher identifying as optimistic.
- Move it or lose it – People who exercise at least once a week are 41% more likely to be optimistic than those who don't.
- Take a time out – People who take time to meditate are 10% more likely to be optimistic.
- The less screen time, the better – Respondents who used tech for 5+ hours outside of work are 38% more likely to be pessimistic.
- A hair's difference between cat and dog people - Dog owners are 4% more likely to be optimistic than cat owners.
- We get by with a little help from our friends - Spending time with family and friends was a top hobby identified by 90% of the most positive segment.
*Key Findings note a correlation between demographic or lifestyle habit and optimism.
Life is Good's Optimism and Positivity Survey results have been released in time for Positive Thinking Day 2018, an unofficial national holiday that highlights the importance of setting aside time to focus on the positive, and the benefits that are reaped from positive thought patterns. Life is Good will be celebrating throughout September by asking their audience to share #OnePositiveThought on social media or Lifeisgood.com/positivethought, to help put more positivity into the world, one post at a time. For full results and more ways to get involved, visit lifeisgood.com/positivethought.
ABOUT THE LIFE IS GOOD COMPANY
The Life is Good Company is the original positive lifestyle apparel brand dedicated to spreading the power of optimism through art and messaging. The company donates 10 percent of its net profits to help kids in need through the Life is Good Kids Foundation. To date, the foundation has positively impacted over 10,000 childcare providers who care for over 1 million kids every year, many of whom are facing early childhood trauma. Life is Good® is a registered trademark of The Life is Good Company. Visit LifeisGood.com for more details, and follow Life is Good on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
SOURCE Life is Good
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