Do you look at the glass as half full or half empty? Well, if your glass is half full…you may just cope with stress better than those who consider their glass half empty. When it comes to stress, everyone is fair game. Everyone deals with stress differently, however new research has pinpointed why it may be that optimists fare better with stress in life.
Concordia University researchers compared stress hormone levels in pessismists with stress hormone levels in optimists and discovered that pessimists stress hormone levels were likely to increase while optimists hormone levels remained stabilized when exposed to high-amounts of stress.
Joelle Jobin, psychologist and researcher explains the study’s findings,
“On days where they experience higher than average stress, that’s when we see that the pessimists’ stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down. Optimists, by contrast, were protected in these circumstances.”
The study that involved 135 participants aged 60+ who were monitored 12 various times throughout a 6 year time-period. On the days participants mouths were swabbed 5x per day so researchers could monitor and measure the cortisol levels (stress hormones) indicated in their saliva samples.
Participant’ s personalities were also profiled to decipher the pessimists from the optimists in the study. In addition, researchers also recorded whether each participant was under stress at the time the swabs were taken.
Researchers then studied and analyzed the saliva swabs and compared them with the personality profiles and the stress hormone cortisol levels. They used median cortisol levels to gauge the increase and decrease of the levels throughout the days the participants were tested. They discovered that pessimists stress hormone levels fluctuated and elevated in unstable patterns and optimists stress hormone levels were less likely to fluctuate so drastically as they remained stable throughout notable stressful times.