The power of positive thinking

September 22, 2014, 4:21 PM GMT+0

Americans overwhelmingly believe that positive thinking can change outcomes in life, but younger Americans are more pessimistic than their elders

Contrary to popular wisdom, pessimism could have its own bright side: it could make you better prepared to deal with problems when and if they arise. Nevertheless we also know that approaching live with a positive attitude can have an beneficial impact on people's lives, not least of all that people who're optimistic tend to live longer and that giving yourself motivational pep talks can increase your physical endurance.

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (70%) think that if they adopt a positive attitude then this will change outcomes. Only 15% say that, despite a positive attitude, things will turn out the same regardless. There is a small gender divide, however, as the largest divide on this is between men and women. 18% of men and only 11% of women think refuse to believe that positive thinking can change outcomes.

Asked whether they are optimists or pessimists, 61% of Americans say that they are optimists while 19% say that they are pessimists. People over the age of 65 (71%) are the most likely to be optimists, but the younger you are the less optimistic you are. Only 48% of under-30s say that they are optimists, while 23% say that they are pessimists.

People in the Northeast (26%) are the most likely of any demographic group to say that they are pessimists.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: PA