Celebrate Optimism Month in March

Optimism Month can bring many benefits

optimism umbrella
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Although March is Optimism Month, any month can be an opportunity to build your tendency toward grounded optimism, and reap the many benefits that come from this. Optimism is associated with many benefits in life, including increased health, happiness, and longevity. 

Although a tendency toward optimism is partially due to inborn factors like openness to experience and agreeableness, optimistic thinking patterns can be developed any time during your life and can bring big benefits with them. 

Focusing on developing these thinking habits may take a little time, so focusing on them over the course of a month can help you to make this a lifelong habit. Let's look a little closer on why it's worth taking the time and effort to do this.

How Optimism Benefits You

People often wonder if those who are optimistic are only more likely to expect the best because they haven't been disappointed by setbacks in life enough yet. Or perhaps they are happier because they already have more to be happy about. However, research finds that those who are optimistic tend to have more to be happy about because of benefits that they gain from their optimism, and not that they are merely more optimistic because they have had easier lives. 

This is great news because it opens up the benefits of optimism to anyone who wants to change their perspective. These benefits include greater success, physical and emotional health, and longevity, less stress, and more.  

Why Celebrate Optimism Month?

While you can focus on optimism any time from moment to moment and improve your outer and inner experience, focusing on optimism for a full month can really help you to make it more of an established part of your life. This is true for several reasons:

  • Optimism is about more than looking on the bright side. Becoming more of an optimist may involve examining your current thinking patterns, deciding on new perspectives to adopt, developing new habits, and other actions. This can take time.
  • Habits take time to develop, whether we're talking about habits of thought or about lifestyle habits. Both types of habits can help you to be more of an optimist, so it helps to give yourself a few weeks to cement these new aspects of your life.
  • Some changes may work better for you than others. If you spend a month focusing on making optimism-supporting changes in your life, this gives you time to try and discard a few things before you settle on the changes that will work best for you. (This is true whether you're focusing on optimism, happiness, stress relief, or anything else that requires change.)

How to Celebrate 

There are several ways to "celebrate" Optimism Month and make it work for you to the fullest. Remember, March is the official Optimism Month, and you can use the momentum of a group by joining with others in celebrating optimism if you observe it in March. However, you are welcome to make any month the month that you focus on optimism (or begin focusing on optimism more), and you can even recruit friends to join you, so don't let the date limit you. As for what, specifically, you can do to celebrate, here are some ideas, each of which can be transformative:

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lee LO, James P, Zevon ES, et al. Optimism is associated with exceptional longevity in 2 epidemiologic cohorts of men and womenProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(37):18357-18362. doi:10.1073/pnas.1900712116

  2. Conversano C, Rotondo A, Lensi E, Della Vista O, Arpone F, Reda MA. Optimism and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Well-Being. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2010;(6):25-9. doi:10.2174/1745017901006010025

  3. Wood W. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2017.

  4. TeensHealth from Nemours. Optimism.

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.