People have a natural tendency to experience negative occurrences more intensely than positive ones, which is a survival technique labeled the Negativity Bias. Optimism, however, can help to achieve a thriving life. The benefits, main components, and ways to incorporate a more optimistic approach into life are all discussed. The benefits of optimism include a more accurate awareness of people’s surroundings, better judgment of a variety of situations, and the ability to meet appropriate and attainable goals. The main components of optimism are the ability to externalize problems, a higher self-esteem, more self-efficacy, and increased social interest, all of which allow people to thrive as individuals and as part of a community. The areas of life into which one can incorporate a more optimistic lifestyle are by developing a more religious perspective, modifying youth environments, making and obtaining realistic goals, avoiding social comparisons, and focusing on the positive. While optimism allows for a more thriving life, it is important to remember that suffering can never be eliminated from life. However, suffering seems to be essential in order to obtain a more optimistic outlook on life because suffering fosters many of the characteristics needed for optimism. It is hopeful that in explaining and expounding on optimism, others will be able to achieve a more optimistic approach, and therefore a thriving life.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2012


Steffen P. Wilson

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level