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Positive Thinking in Coping with Stress and Health outcomes: Literature Review



This article reviews literature on positive thinking and its effect on the appraisal of stress, coping and health outcomes. Positive psychology is a new dimension that focuses on positive thinking, positive emotions and positive behavioral qualities that enhance human potential in various domains such as work, coping with stress and health. By thinking positively, we perceive the stress as less threatening, are able to cope with it effectively. Fredrickson's broaden and build theory of positive emotions was the theoretical framework for this article. Papers studying positive thinking, positive emotions, optimism, hope and wellbeing were included in the review. The implications for counselors, educationists and the community at large have also been discussed.
Journal of Research and Reflections in Education
June 2010, Vol.4, No.1, pp 42 -61
Positive Thinking in Coping with Stress and Health outcomes:
Literature Review
Zarghuna Naseem & Ruhi Khalid
Abstract: This article reviews literature on positive thinking and its
effect on the appraisal of stress, coping and health outcomes. Positive
psychology is a new dimension that focuses on positive thinking,
positive emotions and positive behavioral qualities that enhance human
potential in various domains such as work, coping with stress and
health. By thinking positively, we perceive the stress as less
threatening, are able to cope with it effectively. Fredrickson’s broaden
and build theory of positive emotions was the theoretical framework for
this article. Papers studying positive thinking, positive emotions,
optimism, hope and wellbeing were included in the review. The
implications for counselors, educationists and the community at large
have also been discussed.
Keywords: positive thinking, positive emotions, optimism, stress,
coping and health
This paper is an attempt to review the literature on positive thinking and its
effect on stress appraisal, coping and health outcomes. Positive thinking is looking at the
brighter side of situations, making a person constructive & creative. Positive thinking is
related with positive emotions and other constructs such as optimism, hope, joy and
wellbeing. McGrath (2004) defined positive thinking as a generic term referring to an
overall attitude that is reflected in thinking, behavior, feeling and speaking. Positive
thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind; thoughts, words and images that
are conducive to growth, expansion and success.
Negative thinking is thoughts that imply criticism or devaluation of self. These
thoughts dominate the perception of a depressed person. People who think negatively do
not expect things to go as planned therefore anticipating bad outcomes. Their coping with
daily stressors becomes dysfunctional and they develop psychological and physical health
problems. Historically, psychologists have been solely focused on negative mental states
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leading to pathology and disorder. The influence of positive thinking, positive emotions
on life satisfaction, quality of life and health outcomes was generally neglected.
However the last few years have been marked by renewed interest in positive
psychology. Many researchers have examined the beneficial effects of positive thinking,
positive feeling, positive emotions and positive behavioral qualities on psychological as
well as physical well being (Fredrickson 2001; Seligman and Csikszentmihaly, 2000;
Taylor et el., 1992).
In this article the researcher has reviewed the cross-sectional, longitudinal and
experimental researches to find out whether positive thinking plays any role in the
appraisal of stress, effective coping strategies and wellbeing. Positive thinking, in this
article has been defined as frequent experience of positive emotions, optimism, hope and
happiness. The researcher’s theoretical framework was Fredrickson’s broaden and build
theory (1998, 2001) of positive emotions and Lazarus transactional model of stress
(Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Fredrickson’s broaden and build theory (1998, 2001) of
positive emotions suggests that a critical adaptive purpose of positive emotions is to help
prepare the individual for future challenges. Following Fredrickson’s model,
Lyubomirsky (2005) suggested that people experiencing positive emotions seek to attain
new goals (See also Carver, 2003). Positive thinkers encounter circumstances with
optimism and if they encounter stressful situations they appraise it as controllable and use
coping strategies that are functional, efficient and problem focused. Positive thinkers feel
that life is going well, their goals are being met, and resources are adequate (Carver &
Scheier, 1998; Cantor et al., 1991).
According to Lazarus & Folkman (1984), stress does not exist in the “event” but
rather is a result of appraisal of the event that is producing stress. They asserted that the
primary mediator of person environment transaction was appraisal. Stress itself is not
important, but the meaning we give to the stressful situation determines the intensity of
stress. Positive thinkers will appraise the stressful situation as less threatening and cope
with it effectively compared to negative thinkers.
Naseem & Khalid
Theoretical Background
Positive thinking is related with positive psychology. The phenomena of
positive psychology have been found in Greek and Eastern philosophy, the Bible,
historical accounts and linguistic origins of words which provide important information
about human strengths. Schimmel (2000) echoed that psychologists working on the
dimension of positive psychology should explore their roots as exemplified in ancient
philosophy and religious writings. Positive psychology also has its root in humanistic
psychology which focuses on uniquely human issues, such as self-actualization, hope,
love, health, creativity, nature, being, becoming, individuality, and meaning. Humanistic
psychology is well established as the first organized form of positive psychology. It
emerged in the 1950s as the third force in psychology in reaction to both behaviorism &
psychoanalysis. The discipline included Abrahim Maslow, Carl Roger, & Rollo May who
stressed on a phenomenological view of human experience, seeking to understand human
behavior by conducting qualitative research. It tended to look beyond the medical model
of psychology, in order to open up a non-pathologizing view of person.
Recently, American psychologists devoted its millennial issue to the emerging
science of positive psychology, positive character, and positive institutions (Seligman &
Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). In their review of different approaches to positive psychology,
Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi noted that the early incarnations of humanistic
psychology lacked a cumulative empirical base, and some directions encouraged self
centeredness such as narcissism, egoism and selfishness. The association of humanistic
discourse with narcissistic and overly optimistic worldviews is a misreading of
humanistic theory. In their response to Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), Bohart
and Greening (2001) noted that along with pieces on self-actualization and individual
fulfillment, humanistic psychologists have also published papers on a wide range of
social issues, such as the promotion of international peace and understanding, awareness
of the holocaust, the reduction of violence and the promotion of social welfare and justice
for all.
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Positive Thinking and Coping with Stress
There is a relationship between positive thinking and stress. Occurrence of daily
positive emotions serves to moderate stress reactivity (Anthony Ong, 2006). There is
evidence that stress leads to heart disease ( Rozanski, 1999), infectious illness (
Biondiand, Zannion, 1997) and autoimmune disorders ( Affleck, 1997). Positive
thinking and positive affect have been found to be related with distress reduction and
predicting healthy outcomes (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004; Tugade, Fredrickson &
Feldman Barret, 2004). Positive emotions undo the effect of negative emotions on
cardiovascular function (Fredrickson, & Levenston, 1998). A study of coping with stress
following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States found that resilient
individuals were less likely to experience depression and more likely to report increase in
psychological growth after the attacks (Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh, & Larkin, 2003).
Moreover, positive emotions experienced after the attack completely mediated the
relationship between resilience and coping variables. These moments of positive
emotions may be viewed as opportunities to replenish ones system, which has been
depleted by grief (Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000). A meta-analysis conducted by
Lyubomirsky and King (2005) about the benefits of frequent positive thinking, in terms
of positive affect, optimism, happiness, satisfaction with life and other related concepts,
found that positive affect engenders success across multiple life domains, including work
performance, social relationship, perception of self and others, sociability, activity,
physical wellbeing, coping, problem solving, creativity and health.
A number of constructs have been introduced in the coping literature to explain
the capacity of some individuals to maintain a positive out look during negative life
circumstances. Optimism (defined as attributional style, Seligman, 1991, or as general
positive expectancy , Carver & Scheier, 1991, 2001), extraversion (McCrae & Costa,
1986), sense of coherence ( Antonovsky, !988, 1993), hope (Synder,2000) and hardiness
( Maddi & Kobassa, 1991) all refer to general trait that are correlated with positive affect
and promote positive thinking during difficult circumstances and all have been related
with positive health outcomes (e.g., Maruta, Colligan, Malinchoc, & Offord, 2000;
Snyder, 2000). For example, research has demonstrated that optimistic individuals
remember potentially threatening health relevant information more than pessimists
(Aspinwall, 1998; Aspinwall & Brunhart, 1996). However, they use humor and positive
Naseem & Khalid
reframing instead of denial when coping with highly stressful events (Carver et al., 1993).
One possibility is that the effects of these constructs on positive moods mediate their
relation to physical health outcomes (Segerstorm, 2000). Although, these concepts differ
in a variety of ways but their correlations with positive affect are well established (Clark
& Watson, 1991). Carver and Scheier did a lot of research on optimists and pessimists.
Optimists are quicker to accept a challenge. They engage in more focused, active coping
when such efforts are likely to be productive. They are less likely to display signs of
disengagement or giving up (Scheier & Carver, 2001). Optimistic women used more
adaptive coping strategies and had lower level of perceived stress (Anne, 2007). Scheier
and Carver (1985) found that optimistic students coped well with difficult situations
during the semester and reported less physical symptoms. Opti mis tic women who were
pregnant were more likely
to engage in co n s tructiv e thinking than the pessimistic
(Park et al., 1997).
Furthermore, constructive
thinking also corre lated
negatively with anxiety and positively correlated with a
positive state of mind.
Litt, Tennen, Affelect, and klock (1992) examined the reactions of people whose
attempts in vitro fertilization were unsuccessful. Escape was used as a coping strategy by
pessimist, which in turn caused greater distress after the fertilization failure. Strategies for
maintaining positive emotions and positive thinking help buffer against stress (Folkman
& Moskowitz, 2000). Most researchers concerned with the issue of finding meaning in
adversity perceive it as a powerful human strength associated with the minimization of
harm to an individual physical ( Afflect, Tennen, Croog, and Levine, 1987) and
psychological health (e. g., Davis, Nolen-Hoeksema, & Larson, 1998).
Shiota (2006) observed the effect of positive coping strategies on daily stressors.
Dispositional use of positive emotions inducing coping strategy was mostly associated
with positive aspects of well being. Positive emotional granularity (PEG) is the tendency
to represent experience of positive emotions with precision and specificity. This exerts an
important influence on coping by making the individual more attentive to the situation at
hand. Therefore the person is more likely to scan coping options thoroughly and less
likely to respond spontaneously (Tugade & Fredrickson 2004). Positive thinking has been
effective during the resettlement stage of the immigration process. Cognitive strategies of
positive comparison and optimistic thinking were utilized by the immigrants to change
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the meaning of resettlement difficulties (Wong and Denial, 2007).
When studying negative effects (NA) and positive effects (PA) on coping,
studies have shown that individual high in NA prefer avoidant behavior (Bolger and
Zukerman, 1995; Bouchard, 2003). Other researches (Gunthert et al., 1999) have shown
positive correlation between NA and perceived stressfulness. Research has shown that
stress exposure varies with negative affectivity and gender (Bolger & Zukerman, 1995).
In Eaton and Bradley’s study (2008) participant’s perception of stressfulness increased
with participant’s negative affectivity. NA predicted use of both emotion and avoidance
focused coping.
Evidences from a variety of sources show that happy people are more satisfied
with their jobs than unhappy people (Connolly & Viswesvaran, 2000). Positive effect at
work has been found to be directly associated with reduced absenteeism (George, 1989).
Positive thinkers appear to secure better jobs. In one study, employees high in
dispositional positive affect had jobs as rated by trained observers, that had more
autonomy, meaning and variety ( Staw, Stutton, & Pelled, 1994). In a meta-analysis of
27 studies of affect and job satisfaction, Connolly & Viswesvaran, concluded that 10%-
25% of the variance in job satisfaction was accounted for by measures of dispositional
effect. Employees high in dispositional effect receive relatively more favorable
evaluations from supervisors and others (Staw et al., 1994). In Staw and colleague’s
study, managers of high positive effects employees of three Midwestern organizations
gave them higher evaluations for work quality, productivity, dependability, and
creativity. Staw and Barsade (1993) found that, as rated by objective observers, those
high in dispositional positive affect performed better on a manager assessment task.
Positive thinkers and happy, satisfied workers are more likely to be high performers on
the job and they are less likely to show absenteeism, turnover, job burnout, and
retaliatory behaviors (Donovan, 2000; Locke, 1975). For example positive mood at work
predicted lower withdrawal and organizational retaliation and higher organizational
citizenship behavior (Donovan, 2000).
Ferreira (2006) analyzed the role of coping in the relationship between work
stressors and psychological wellbeing in a sample of 464 bank employees. Work related
stressors correlated positively with psychological distress and psychosomatic complaints.
In Healy and Mckay’s study (2000) nurse’s work related stressors and coping strategies
Naseem & Khalid
were studied and its impact on the nurse’s job satisfaction and mood disturbance was
estimated. Positive correlation was found between nurse’s stress and mood disturbance,
and a significant negative relationship between nurse’s stress and job satisfaction was
found. Job and non-work stress correlated positively with behavioral, cognitive, and
physiological reactions to stress as well as with negative emotionality (Hogan, Carlson, &
Dua, 2002).
Positive Thinking and Health
There are two broad benefits of thinking positively under a stressful situation.
For one, positive thinking will enable the person cope better. The other is that positive
thinking increases the likelihood of a good outcome. Optimism has been shown to relate
to higher levels of self reported vitality and mental health ( Achat, Kawachi, Spiro,
Demolles, & Sparrow, 2000) and lower levels of depression . There is also evidence that
positive thinking may provide a sense of control in certain situations and reduce the
incidence of depression (Taylor, 1983).
Positive thinking and cardiovascular diseases. The benefits of positive thinking
are evident in the studies of cardiovascular health, cancer, and other diseases. There is
mounting evidence that positive emotions and positive thinking have an important role to
play in protecting blood pressure, and other heart ailments (Affleck, Tennen, & Croog,
1987). Afflect and colleagues studied 287 men who suffered heart attacks; about half of
them reported that the heart attack led to a change in philosophy of life, including
becoming more in touch with their values. Others reported that they learned the values of
healthy lifestyles; 25% reported that they modified their ways of doing things so they
could enjoy life more. Optimists, who are positive thinkers, evidenced better physical
recovery immediately after coronary artery bypass surgery and up to 6 months post
surgery (Carver & Scheier, 1993). Optimism, positive thinking and self esteem, reliably
predicted sustained recoveries for those who had just undergone angioplasty (Helgeson &
Fritz 1999). In a study on male war veterans, optimists, having positive thinking, were
less likely to suffer from angina and heart attacks (Kubzansky, Sparrow, Vokonas, &
Kawacgi, 2001) and they evidenced higher level of pulmonary functions and slower rates
of pulmonary decline, a protective affect that is independent of smoking
(Kubzansky,Wright, Cohen, Weiss, Rosner, & Sparrow,2002). Recent theorizing,
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however, has noted that many of the health effects of dispositional optimism parallel
those predicted by positive emotions of hope ( Aspinwall & Leaf, 2002).
Positive thinking & cancer. Positive effect has been shown to have a direct
effect on the quality of life of cancer patients (Collins, Hanson, Mulhern, & Padberg,
1992) and to similar allergic reactions among healthy students (Laidlaw, Booth, & Large,
1996). Studies suggest that optimistic cancer patients have a better quality of life than
those who are pessimistic and feel hopelessness (Schou, Ekeberg & Rauland, 2005).
Carver et al., (1993)
examined the ways women cope with treatment for early stage
breast cancer and found that optimism was associated with a pattern of reported
coping tactics that revolved around accepting the reality of the situation, placing as
positive a light on the situation as possible, trying to relieve the situation with humor,
an d taking active steps to do whatever there was to be done.
Cruess, Antoni, McGregor,
et al. (2000) encouraged 34 women who had just undergone surgery with breast cancer to
find meaning in the adversity. Results showed difference in cortisol; the treatment group
who received behavior therapy showed lower level of this immune suppressing hormone
in blood stream, than the control group.
Although many professional writers continue to extol the virtue of positive
thinking, other commentators have also suggested that general injunction upon patients
with cancer to think positively may have negative consequences, imposing a social or
psychological burden that they can not bear (McGrath, 2004; Rittenberg, 1995) or
causing them to feel guilty or worthless if things do not go well (De Reave, 1997).
Positive thinking and Immune Functioning. Individuals with attributes closely
related to positive thinking have also been found to show heightened immuno
competence. For example, in two separate investigations, humor was associated with
enhanced immune function in participants who were predisposed to use humor as a
routine coping device ( Dellion, Minchoff, & Baker, 1985). Further more, sense of
coherence ( Antonovsky, 1993) was associated with natural killer (NK) activity among
older adult facing the stress of relocation. These health benefits of positive thinking
extend to other health problems such as common cold & allergic reactions (Cohen,
Doyle, Turner, Alper, Ans, Skoner, 2002).
Positive emotions mediate the effect of coping with humor & immune system
functioning (Dillon, Minchoff, & Baker, 1985-1986). Those with greater tendencies to
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cope with humor report daily positive mood. Consequently, in response to stress, those
with greater propensities to cope with humor show increases in levels of salivary
immunoglobulin A (S-IgA), a vital immune system protein, which is body first line of
defense against respiratory illness (Dillon et al, 1985-1986). In an experience sampling
study, self report of positive emotions predicted increases in S-IgA levels, thereby
enhancing immune functioning (Stone, Valdimars-Dottir, Jandorf, Cox, & Neale, 1987).
Valdimarsdottir and Bovbjerg (1997) conducted a study on 48 healthy women and found
that women who reported more positive mood had higher level of NK cell activity than
women with less positive mood. Segerstrom, Taylor, Kemeny, et al. (1998) studied
changes in NK cell activity in 50 students. There was strong relation between situational
optimism and immune activity. In Penebaker, and Francis’ (1993) study students who
were optimistic about their success in coping with the stressors had an immune system
that was better prepared to engulf and destroy cancer cells than those who were not
Laboratory studies with rheumatoid arthritis patients examined the effect of
positive thinking on autoimmune processes. Some of the patients were shown a video. A
blood test was taken for changes in level of interleukin 6 (Il-6), a proinflamatory cytokine
associated with autoimmune disease process in rheumatoid arthritis. IL-6 level of patients
who saw the film, which induced positive thinking, was compared with the patients who
did not see the video. Increasing positive emotions in both studies reduced the production
of immune products responsible for inflammation, pain and damage to the body’s joints
(Yoshino, Fujimori, KOhda, 1996; Nakajima, Hiari, and Yoshino, 1999).
Positive mood and the release of endogenous opioids are both associated with
lower acute stress reactivity (Fredrickson and Levenson, 1998). Taylor et al. (1992)
studied positive emotions such as optimism and psychological well-being among a sample
of gay and bisexual men who were at risk of developing Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome (AIDS). Optimism was associated wi th lower levels of distress. Distress was
measured by a composite in d e x of negative affect and their specific concerns about the
disease were also studied.
Research studied the lives of 40 gay men who had tested positive for HIV
(Bower, Kemeny, Taylor, & Fehey, 1998; Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000). Men who
JRRE Vol.4, No.1, 2010
found meaning in the death of their partner had a slower rate of decline in circulating
CD4 cells, which is a marker of disease progression. Also, men who found meaning in
the death of their partner, had a three year longer life span than those who found no
meaning (Bower et al., 1998). People who recently lost their partners to AIDS; provided
spoken narratives three times: 2 weeks, 1 month, and 1 year post bereavement. Those
who used positive words showed a greater positive morale and a less depressive mood
(Stein, Folkman, Trabasso, & Richards, 1997). In related researches, several studies
demonstrated that positive thinking promotes good health and resulted in fewer illness
related physician visits over the following months compared to control participants
(Penebaker, Mayne & Francis, 1997).
Positive thinking and longevity. Cohen and Pressman (2006) found association
between trait positive affect with mortality (longevity), morbidity (illness onset) and
reports of symptoms and pain. A research was conducted in (Danner, Snowdon, &
Friesen, 2001) Notre Dame, with 180 nuns, to find out the relationship between positive
thinking and longevity. The researcher estimated that nuns who had positive thinking
lived an average of 10 years longer (Danner et al., 2001). Cohen (2003) exposed the
subjects to a rhinovirus; that cause the common cold. Results showed that positive
thinkers were less likely to develop a cold even after being exposed to rhinovirus. The
symptoms were reported and monitored. There was a considerable evidence linking PA
to reports of fewer symptoms, less pain and better health (Cohen et al., 2003). However,
other research presents confusing results: Knapp and colleagues (1992) found that both
positive and negative mood states have remarkably similar effects on immune system
functioning, producing decreased lymphocyte production in response to mitogens.
Similarly, pleasant and unpleasant moods were found to produce the same effect on
natural killer cell activity (Futterman, Kemeny, Shapiro, & Fahey, 1994).
Folkman & Moskowitz, (2000) described three strategies that predicted higher
level of positive well being in their longitudinal study of care givers of partners with
AIDS. First positive reappraisal, second problem focused coping, and third the creation
of positive events. Similarly women who focused on the positives despite hazardous child
delivery and prolonged hospitalization post delivery, showed greater well being and this
also extended to the developmental wellbeing of their children (Affleck & Tennen, 1996).
In addition to promoting physical health, cultivating positive thinking and
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emotions is associated with psychological health (Fredrickson, 2000). Emmons &
McCullough (2003) assigned participants to one of three groups: (1) count your blessing
(2) List daily hassles or (3) control. People who counted their blessings, claimed to have
better health, by having fewer physical complaints, frequently exercising and more hours
of better quality sleep.
Positive thinking and resilience. Resilient people are characterized by positive
emotionality: they have zestful and energetic approaches to life, are curious and open to
new experiences (Block & Block 1980). They use optimistic thinking (Masten & Read,
2002) and humor (Masten, 2001) as ways of coping. Moreover, resilient people not only
cultivate positive emotions in themselves, but they elicit positive emotions in others close
to them, which creates a supportive social network to aid in the coping process (Demos,
1989). Tugate, Fredrickson, & Barret (2004) observed that high resilient subjects showed
faster cardiac recovery as compared to low resilient participants.
Indigenous Research
To the best of our knowledge a little research on positive thinking and related
topics such as positive affect, well being, and life satisfaction have been reported. Suhail
and Chaudry (2004) determined and compared the prevalence and predictors of happiness
and personal well-being in Pakistani sample with other countries. A sample of 1000
Pakistani people; age range 16-80, from various areas of Lahore was collected. Although
random sampling was not used, every 10th house in a street was included to reduce
personal bias. Demographic variables such as work satisfaction, social support and
marital satisfaction were measured using different scales to find out its relation to well
being and happiness. Personality traits such as introversion and extraversion were
obtained by administering an Extraversion/ Introversion Scale (EIS) of Eysenck
Personality Inventory (1953). The scale was adapted and made short and culturally fair.
Religiosity was measured by on 18 item scale (Suhail, & Akram, 2002) designed to find
out religious affiliation in Muslims. Rosenberg’ self esteem scale (1965) was
administered to measure self perception and well-being. General well-being was
measured by two indicators: personal happiness and life satisfaction. Personal happiness
was measured by Faces scale (Andrews and Withey, 1976). Life satisfaction was
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measured by Ladder scale of General Well-being (LSWB).
The findings of the study were consistent with previous world wide reports, that
there is a majority of happy people. In Pakistan, 7 out of 10 rated themselves as being
happy; in spite of economic hard ships, social and political turmoil and unrest. The
predictors of psychological well-being such as social support, work satisfaction, income
level, religious affiliation and marital satisfaction accounted for 19% and 23% of
variance in happiness and life satisfaction. Positive affect was correlated with wealth.
Income was positively correlated with well being and life satisfaction.
Amjad & Misbah (1998) studied the effect of religious meditation on anxiety
level and well-being. Spiritual attitude measure questionnaire was developed by the
researcher using Quranic translations, sufi texts and commentaries. Eighteen volunteer
females were assigned for meditation for 40 days. Pre and post tests were taken for each
variable. A significant mean difference was found between the pre and post measures of
well-being and anxiety after the mediation. No significant mean difference was found on
life satisfaction scale. Results signified that happiness and well being can be increased
and anxiety can be decreased through religious interventions.
Malik & Rehman (2003) studied the effect of occupational stress on
psychological well-being and work motivation. Findings showed a negative correlation
between occupational stress and psychological well-being. Some researches identified the
stressors of Pakistani people and their coping strategies.
The review of experimental studies has shown that positive thinking effects the
appraisal of stress, which determines our coping strategies. Thus the evidence supports
the researcher’s conceptual model that positive thinking increases the ability to deal with
stressors effectively and causes many successful health outcomes. The results of this
review can be replicated in Pakistan where negativity due to illiteracy and poverty is
prevailing every where. Geopolitical situations in the country are alarming and people are
under constant strains of bomb blasts. In these circumstances there should be measures to
protect them from negativity. There are implications for educationists who wish to reduce
the stressors of their students by preparing them to face the challenges of teaching-
learning situations and professional life. Educationists can initiate programs to cultivate
Naseem & Khalid
positive thinking in their students. Positive thinking interventions should focus on how
learners can identify their strengths, adopt new practices and habits, and restructure their
lives in ways that allow for a stream of positive emotions and experiences. Further more,
many of the characteristics observed in positive thinkers can help them improve their
conditions as well as others. These findings can also be used by the counselors to reduce
their clients’ negativity by inducing positive thinking in them. Community members can
change negative perceptions of the people into positive ones to make them healthy and
productive citizens of Pakistan.
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Name: Zarghuna Naseem & Ruhi Khalid
... Seperti kenyataan yang diberikan oleh Kes 2 melalui temu bual dengannya iaitu: Berfikir dan cara berfikir memainkan peranan penting dalam pelbagai aspek kehidupan manusia, agar manusia sentiasa dapat dibezakan antara satu sama lain berdasarkan pemikiran dan sikap mereka terhadap keadaan yang dilaluinya (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009). Seseorang yang berfikir secara positif bukan sahaja tidak mengetahui dengan perkara yang buruk, tetapi mempertimbangkan setiap saat kejadian yang dirancang dengan teliti dan telah dikendalikan (Naseem & Khalid, 2010). Jenis pemikiran seperti yang disarankan oleh semua agama dan cendekiawan, setelah menembus akal berkembang ke seluruh tubuh dan mengubah tingkah laku dan juga gaya fizikal (Baljani, Kazemi, Amanpour, & Tizfahm, 2012). ...
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Tujuan kajian ini adalah untuk memahami strategi yang diperoleh daripada golongan gelandangan dalam meningkatkan kesejahteraan hidup. Kajian ini telah menggunakan reka bentuk kajian kes instrumental (Stake, 1995). Seramai 10 orang daripada golongan gelandangan telah diambil sebagai responden kajian. Data yang telah dikumpul dan dianalisis dengan menggunakan analisis tematik. Sebanyak lima tema keseluruhan berkaitan dengan strategi yang dimiliki oleh golongan gelandangan untuk meningkatkan kesejahteraan hidup. Tema strategi yang telah dibentuk ialah, (a) berfikiran positif, (b) komunikasi interpersonal, (c) hubungan sosial, (d) penetapan kendiri, dan (e) pengurusan rohani. Kajian ini membolehkan golongan gelandangan, institusi keluarga, pemegang taruh dan masyarakat dapat memahami bagaimana untuk membantu dalam meningkatkan kesejahteraan hidup terutamanya dalam kalangan gelandangan. Golongan ini juga ingin berdikari, menyumbang kepada masyarakat, justeru menghapuskan stigma terhadap golongan gelandangan. Kajian ini diharapkan dapat memberikan gambaran awal berkaitan dengan isu kesejahteraan hidup dalam kalangan gelandangan. Implikasi dan cadangan turut dibincangkan di akhir penulisan ini untuk pengkaji di masa akan datang dapat menjalankan kajian dalam bidang psikologi khususnya subjek dalam kalangan gelandangan. Kata kunci: kesejahteraan hidup, kajian kes, gelandangan, analisis tematik The study is to understand the strategies obtained from the homeless in improving the well-being of life. This study has used an instrumental case study design (Stake, 1995). A total of 10 homeless people was recruited as study respondents. Data were collected and analyzed using thematic analysis. Overall, there are five themes related to the strategies that obtain to improve the homeless well-being of the homeless. The themes that have been formed are (a) positive thinking, (b) interpersonal communication, (c) social relationships, (d) self-determination, and (e) spiritual management. This study allows homeless people, family institutions, stakeholders, and the community to understand how to help improve the well-being of life, especially the homeless. These people also want to be independent and contribute to society. Thus, eliminating the stigma of the homeless. This study is expected to provide an initial overview related to the issue of well-being among homeless people. Implications and suggestions are also discussed at the end of this writing so that future researchers can research the psychology field, especially subjects among homeless people.
... According to Fredrickson's (2001) broaden and build theory, positive psychological approaches to stressful situations have a critical adaptive purpose to help prepare individuals for future challenges. Positive thinkers typically use problemfocused, functional and efficient coping strategies, which corroborates the findings from this study that thinking positively was associated with taking one day at a time, keeping routines, and keeping busy; all proactive coping strategies (Naseem and Khalid, 2010). By employing such FIGURE 3 | Association between document topic proportion and participant's Big-5 personality traits (+95% confidence intervals). ...
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Background The COVID-19 pandemic has had substantial impacts on lives across the globe. Job losses have been widespread, and individuals have experienced significant restrictions on their usual activities, including extended isolation from family and friends. While studies suggest population mental health worsened from before the pandemic, not all individuals appear to have experienced poorer mental health. This raises the question of how people managed to cope during the pandemic. Methods To understand the coping strategies individuals employed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we used structural topic modelling, a text mining technique, to extract themes from free-text data on coping from over 11,000 UK adults, collected between 14 October and 26 November 2020. Results We identified 16 topics. The most discussed coping strategy was ‘thinking positively’ and involved themes of gratefulness and positivity. Other strategies included engaging in activities and hobbies (such as doing DIY, exercising, walking and spending time in nature), keeping routines, and focusing on one day at a time. Some participants reported more avoidant coping strategies, such as drinking alcohol and binge eating. Coping strategies varied by respondent characteristics including age, personality traits and sociodemographic characteristics and some coping strategies, such as engaging in creative activities, were associated with more positive lockdown experiences. Conclusion A variety of coping strategies were employed by individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coping strategy an individual adopted was related to their overall lockdown experiences. This may be useful for helping individuals prepare for future lockdowns or other events resulting in self-isolation.
... Actually, in the case of Covid-19, the uncertainty atmosphere and panic created by the illness led to a greater need for optimism and hope. Related research has already shown that optimism and hopeful thinking can have positive effects on both physical and psychological health (Baykal, 2018;Cheavens et al., 2005;Naseem & Khalid, 2010). Actually, an optimal balance between optimism and pessimism is the best strategy for survival. ...
Big data is routinely created in the current socio-technical healthcare environment and provides opportunities to address the population demands for better experience and quality of care, despite the increasingly austere economic drivers. Previous models of care have failed to adapt and improve in response to the complex and rapidly evolving healthcare demands. The system of the future that will operationalize the potential of big data will need to be flexible and responsive to health challenges and the inherent risks of digital systems. A Learning Health System (LHS) is a framework that recognizes healthcare systems as being complex and operationalizes evidence produced from stakeholders, research, data, and implementation to maximize impact. This chapter explores the concept of LHSs, and how big data can be utilized to improve insights and knowledge, resulting in better value healthcare through improved outcomes and reduced wasted expenditure.
... Cognitive appraisal is what a person does to evaluate whether a particular encounter is relevant to his or her well-being. Since the introduction of the principle of appraisal by Lazarus and Folkman [50], the benefit of positive thinking when coping with stress has been acknowledged [51]. Positive thinking might allow adolescents to interpret stressful situations in ways that are conducive to growth and success and, therefore, would prevent adolescents from participating or engaging in any further cyberhate encounters, either by blocking the attacker or by being assertive toward the perpetrator. ...
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Cyberhate represents a risk to adolescents’ development and peaceful coexistence in democratic societies. And yet, not much is known about the relationship between adolescents’ ability to cope with cyberhate and their cyberhate involvement. To fill current gaps in the literature and inform the development of media education programs, the present study investigated various coping strategies in a hypothetical cyberhate scenario as correlates for being cyberhate victims, perpe-trators, and both victim-perpetrators. The sample consisted of 6,829 adolescents between 12–18 years old (Mage = 14.93, SD = 1.64; girls: 50.4%, boys: 48.9%, and 0.7% did not indicate their gen-der) from Asia, Europe, and North America. Results showed that adolescents who endorsed dis-tal advice or endorsed technical coping showed a lower likelihood to be victims, perpetrators, or victim-perpetrators. In contrast, if adolescents felt helpless or endorsed retaliation to cope with cyberhate, they showed higher odds of being involved in cyberhate as victims, perpetrators, or victim-perpetrators. Finally, adolescents who endorsed close support as a coping strategy showed a lower likelihood to be victim-perpetrators, and adolescents who endorsed assertive coping showed higher odds of being victims. In conclusion, the results confirm the importance of addressing adolescents’ ability to deal with cyberhate to develop more tailored prevention ap-proaches. More specifically, such initiatives should focus on adolescents who feel helpless or feel inclined to retaliate. In addition, adolescents should be educated to practice distal advice and technical coping when experiencing cyberhate. Implications for the design and instruction of evi-dence-based cyberhate prevention (e.g., online educational games, virtual learning environments) will be discussed.
... Papers studying positive thinking, positive emotions, optimism, hope and wellbeing were included in the review. The implications for counselors, educationists and the community at large have also been discussed(Naseem, Z., & Khalid, R. 2010) The words we speak have a direct and infinite effect upon our thoughts. Thoughts create words, for words are vehicle of ideas. ...
... Bu durumda ise kiş ipozitif yönlü hayaller kurarak yaşadığı stres ile baş ederek içinde bulunduğu durumdan kurtulabilmektedir. Aynı zaman gelecek içinde kurulan olumlu hayaller stres düzeyinin önemli ölçüde azaltılmasında etkilidir (Naseem ve Khalid, 2010). ...
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İnsan yaşamını etkileyen savaş, göç, kaza, cinsel ve fiziksel istismar, ani beklenmedik ölümler ve ciddi hastalıklar gibi travmatik olayların birey ve toplum hayatı üzerinde önemli bir etkisinin olduğu açıktır. Yaşanan travmatik olayla birlikte biyo-psiko-sosyal gelişimi sekteye uğrayan çocuk ve bireyin yaşadığı dünyayla baş etmesi güçleşmektedir. Travmanın olumsuz etkilerinden kurtulamayan çoğu birey yeni psikiyatrik sorunlarla baş etmek zorunda kalmakta ve ikincil travmalara daha açık hale gelmektedirler. Sıradan yaşam akışını bozan ve bireyin dünyayı, kendini algılamasında sağlıksız duygu ve bilişler ortaya çıkaran travmatik deneyimlerin ardından en sık görülen psikiyatrik bozukluk Travma Sonrası Stres Bozukluğudur. Madde ve alkol kullanımının stresle başa çıkmada bir yol olduğu, başa çıkma tutumlarının madde kullanma eğilimi ile anlamlı ilişkilere sahip olduğu daha önceki çalışmalarda bildirilmiştir. İlgili kitap yalnızca dünya genelinde gittikçe büyüyen madde kullanım bozukluğunu ele almamaktadır. Travma ve madde kullanım bozukluğu arasındaki ilişkiyi ve bu ilişkiye yönelik tedavi yöntemlerini irdeleyen bu kitapta merak ettiklerinizi bulabilirsiniz.
... It is both a skill and a mindset granted on someone (Gordon, 2019). If used correctly, this skill allows one to perceive the stress as less threatening and be able to cope with it effectively (Naseem and Khalid, 2010). According to a study done by the Michigan State University (2017), a person has about 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day. ...
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Background People say it is hard to stay truly positive in Lebanon. Studies showed that 63% of Lebanese young adults are highly dissatisfied with their country. In fact, young adults are the most vulnerable population to stressors in Lebanon since their future is at stake and it is their time to shape their lives in a country that cripples them. This study aimed to assess factors (flourishing, religious coping, experiences in life, and the economic burden) associated with positivity among a sample of Lebanese university students despite the various stressors they are facing on top of the economic collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted between November and December 2021. A total of 333 participants (219 females and 114 males; mean age = 22.95 ± 4.79 years) was recruited through convenience sampling and snowball technique through several areas in Lebanon’s governorates. A linear regression taking the positivity score as the dependent variable was adopted and all variables that showed a correlation > │0.24│ in absolute value were entered in the final model as independent.ResultsA linear regression taking the positivity score as the dependent variable showed that more positive experiences in life (Beta = 0.49; 95% CI 0.35–0.62), more flourishing (Beta = 0.10; 95% CI 0.05–0.14), living in rural area compared to urban (Beta = 3.06; 95% CI 2.02–4.11), and female gender (Beta = 1.56; 95% CI 0.50–2.61) were significantly associated with more positivity (Nagelkerke R2 of the model = 45.8%).Conclusion This study demonstrated that the youth’s positivity is strongly affected by age, gender, residency, and the country they live in that will both directly and indirectly shape their life experiences and their ability to flourish and prosper. Along with all the efforts done to help during this collapse and alleviate the stress that young adults are enduring, follow-up studies are still needed to determine accurate coping techniques that pushes these young adults to think positively in a country where negativity reigns and all else fails.
... In particular, individuals with high self-esteem stability have low negative emotions and defensive attitudes, even in situations where they fail to achieve their goals [45], and participate in actions related to goal pursuit frequently [22]. This increases the likelihood of predicting the characteristics of proactive coping that challenge life's adversity, turn stress into pleasure, and help the subject view the future positively not become discouraged by difficulties easily [34,46]. In addition, when self-esteem is stable, an individual's self-worth does not change rapidly with changes in the external environment [22], which means that there is a sense of control over the external condition. ...
Background: The various psychological challenges experienced by university students have been well- characterised. The university experience can be stressful, which can negatively impact on mental health. Student stress was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of on-campus learning and peer contact. This study aims to understand the stress experiences and coping strategies of undergraduate university students in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic and to explore the differences between first-year and returning students’ experiences. Methods: Undergraduate students at the National University of Ireland, Galway, took part in online semi-structured interviews via Microsoft Teams. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using inductive reflexive thematic analysis. Results: Nineteen students were interviewed (10 first-years and 9 returning students). Three themes were developed in relation to perceived stressors: (1) ‘ The unknown. The dragon. The fear of getting sick ’ with sub-themes, ‘Fear of COVID-19’ and ‘Chronic uncertainty and negative media messages’; (2) ‘Online learning is overwhelming’ with sub-themes ‘Difficulties with university workload’ and ‘ One place, same screen, same things ’; (3) ‘Social isolation’ with sub-themes ‘Lack of peer contact’ and ‘Fear of missing out’. Two themes in relation to coping were also developed: (1) ‘ Help each other, keep each other afloat ’ and (2) ‘Focusing on the positives in a shared storm.’ First-year students described additional stressors not experienced by returning students such as navigating university for the first time remotely and making friends virtually. Conclusion: All students struggled with various additional stressors due to the COVID-19 situation, particularly first-year students who experienced additional stressors while adjusting to university in a pandemic context. All students described coping strategies to help manage stress, which may be useful in developing future interventions and mental health supports for university students.
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Objective: The study examines the relationship of psychological well-being and work motivation in a sample of Pakistani medical professionals. Design: Cross sectional comparative study. Place and duration of the study: The study was conducted in private (Alshifa International Hospital, Islamabad, and Islamabad Private Hospital) and public sector hospitals (Pakistan Institute of medical Sciences and Rawalpindi General Hospital) in the twin-cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan during 2002. Subjects and Methods: A sample of 120 medical professionals belonging to the private and public sector hospitals (n=60 in each) participated in the study. They were selected on the basis of purposive convenient sampling technique. The data was collected with the help of Psychological Well-Being Scale (Wb) and Work Preference Inventory (WPI) and a separately devised demographic sheet containing information about age, experience and private and public sector affiliation. Results: The age range of the sample was between 30-60 years (M=42.97, SD=7.96). The range of experience in service was 1-42 years (M=16.28, SD=8.43). Scores of psychological well being had a significant inverse co-relation with extrinsic motivation (r=-0.26, p < .01). Public and private sector doctors showed a highly significant difference in their motivational orientation (p < .01). The relation of age with scores of well being and motivation showed a significant difference, (t=3.9, p<.001) and (t=2.41, p<0.05) between those aged 53 and above and those 41 years of age or less respectively. Conclusion: Compared to the private sector, the environment of public sector is perceived to be more challenging. Similarly, older medical professionals seem to be having higher psychological well-being and work motivation, compared to the younger medical professionals. However, these findings suggest the need for further exploration of some interrelated variables, which might give us insight for future policy implementation, suggesting ways for further improvement in the psychological facets of the work environment of this dynamic group of professionals.
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Handwritten autobiographies from 180 Catholic nuns, composed when participants were a mean age of 22 years, were scored for emotional content and related to survival during ages 75 to 95. A strong inverse association was found between positive emotional content in these writings and risk of mortality in late life (p < .001). As the quartile ranking of positive emotion in early life increased, there was a stepwise decrease in risk of mortality resulting in a 2.5-fold difference between the lowest and highest quartiles. Positive emotional content in early-life autobiographies was strongly associated with longevity 6 decades later. Underlying mechanisms of balanced emotional states are discussed.
Emotional processes influence a wide range of mental and physical systems, which makes them difficult to understand from a single perspective. In this special issue of the Review of General Psychology, contributing authors present 4 articles that draw from several areas within psychology in the service of understanding a topic relevant to emotion. In this overview, the authors argue that the long neglect of the scientific study of complex processes such as emotion might be linked, in part, to the fractionation of the field into specialized subdisciplines. Just as emotions were of central concern in the early years of psychology (which was a generalist's era), as psychology moves toward more integration in the late 20th century broad phenomena such as emotions are once again central interests. The 4 articles of this special issue are briefly reviewed as exemplars of an integrated approach to understanding emotional phenomena.
In a sample of 287 heart attack victims who were interviewed 7 weeks and 8 years after their attack or who were known to have died during follow-up, interrelations among causal attributions for the attack, perceived benefits of the attack, survivor morbidity, and heart attack recurrence were explored. Analyses focused on early cognitive predictors of heart attack recurrence and 8-year morbidity and on the effects of surviving another heart attack on cognitive appraisals. Independently of sociodemographic characteristics and physicians' ratings of initial prognosis, patients who cited benefits from their misfortune 7 weeks after the first attack were less likely to have another attack and had lower levels of morbidity 8 years later. Attributing the initial attack to stress responses (e.g., worrying, nervousness) was also predictive of greater morbidity in 8-year survivors and blaming the initial attack on other people was predictive of reinfarctions. Men who survived a subsequent heart attack were more likely than men who did not have additional attacks to cite benefits and made more attributions 8 years after the initial attack. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The study of resilience in development has overturned many negative assumptions and deficit-focused models about children growing up under the threat of disadvantage and adversity. The most surprising conclusion emerging from studies of these children is the ordinariness of resilience. An examination of converging findings from variable-focused and person-focused investigations of these phenomena suggests that resilience is common and that it usually arises from the normative functions of human adaptational systems, with the greatest threats to human development being those that compromise these protective systems. The conclusion that resilience is made of ordinary rather than extraordinary processes offers a more positive outlook on human development and adaptation, as well as direction for policy and practice aimed at enhancing the development of children at risk for problems and psychopathology. The study of resilience in development has overturned many negative assumptions and deficit-focused models about children growing up under the threat of disadvantage and adversity.