By Patricia Anne Ocampo

PHOTO: World News Today/AliExpress

Imagine yourself waking up in the middle of the night, seeking a glass of water to quench your thirst. You walk into the kitchen, open the lights, and find that there is already one conveniently set on the table!

However, the million-dollar question is: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

To see the glass as half-full is equivalent to wearing rose-colored glasses ― the perspective of an optimist, who sees the bright side of things, even within the most trivial matters. On the other hand, seeing it as half-empty is looking at it with jaundiced eyes ― a pessimist’s point of view, who sees and foreshadows the worst possible outcomes.

Optimism is defined by Elizabeth Scott as the mental attitude characterized by hope and confidence, a positive outlook at life. It can be said that optimists see their surroundings with a burst of brightly-colored pigments. In times of struggle, they are able to find even the smallest speck of light amid grave circumstances, even as darkness envelops them in its arms.

In stark contrast, the American Psychological Association defines pessimism as the belief that things are bound to go wrong. For pessimists, the world is painted with dull colors, and hope is far from their grasp. In the instance that they encounter good fortune, their initial reaction would be to believe that it is far too good to be true, or that there is a price to pay for it.

At this point, one might wonder: which one is the better mindset?

There is no right nor wrong answer because it is debatable. Neither outweighs the other as each offers their own benefits and flaws.

Studies, such as the one led by Hilary Tindle from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, have shown that optimists have a higher chance of longevity and lesser risk of heart disease because of their healthy mindset, allowing them to actively seek and follow medical advice and form social networks to help them in coping with stress. However, another investigation of this topic published by the American Psychological Association says otherwise, as lead author Frieder Lang states, "Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade.”

Lang and other researchers also found that pessimism tends to encourage individuals to live with caution and less risks, and that having a less upbeat perspective can also reduce anxiety as this mindset mentally prepares them before unfavorable situations. Stable and good health were associated with those who expected a great decline in their future.

However, despite the contradictions between these findings, the conclusions of one study does not necessarily mean that the other is wrong. Lang clarifies that their research does not go against other findings, and Tindle states that their analysis does not necessarily mean pessimists have a shorter lifespan.

This, therefore, justifies that the two ends of the spectrum have their own perks.

Rather than choosing only one side, it is better to be flexible in order to utilize the advantages that both optimism and pessimism have to offer, which is what most individuals do, according to a study by Abigail Hazlett, Daniel C. Molden, and Aaron M. Sackett.

We are allowed to change our lenses according to the situation at hand. We are not required to strictly look at things through only one kind of perspective. And so, for a balanced and regulated point of view, put your rose-colored glasses on your jaundiced eyes.