By Sandy Plone, Ph.D.

A 2011 article in Time magazine seems more relevant today than it did even 10 years ago. The question was raised about why some of us seem to have rose-colored glasses; why our brains may tilt toward the positive in spite of bad news blaring at us from our newspapers and TV’s every day.

While we think of ourselves as rational creatures, both neuroscience and social science suggest that we are more optimistic than realistic. The belief that the future will be better than the past is labeled the “Optimism Bias” and it occurs in every race, region and socioeconomic group.

The article also suggested that faith and hope enable us to believe that we can achieve positive results going forward. Even if a better future is often an illusion, optimism has clear benefits in the present. Hope, it seems, keeps our minds at ease, lowers stress and improves physical health.

A growing body of scientific literature points to the conclusion that optimism may be hardwired by evolution in the brain. The science of optimism is opening a new window on the workings of human consciousness, which could fuel a revolution in psychology as we understand that our brains are not only stamped by the past; they are often being shaped by the future.

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Dr. Sandy Plone has retired from her clinical practice. Professional colleagues and previous clients can reach her at 310 979-7473. Other members of IPN are available to be of help to prospective new clients, or the editor of the website can assist (Dr. Alan M. Solomon).

Copyright 2021 by Independent Psychotherapy Network

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