Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Optimism, Happiness, and Self-Esteem among University Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Optimism, Happiness, and Self-Esteem among University Students

Article excerpt

The term optimism was introduced by Scheier and Carver (1985) according to them optimism is the global generalized tendency to believe that one will generally experience good versus bad outcomes in life. Optimistic people expect that good things will happen and pessimists expect bad things will happen to them. Thus, a person presumes that when a goal is important he or she will act to reach the desired goal, hoping for the positive outcomes (Scheier & Carver, 1985-1993).

Happiness is commonly defined as a state of wellbeing, associated with experiencing pleasures and feeling good. It is an elusive, affective or enthusiastic state, characterized by feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction. Argyle et al. (1989) reported that happy people are those who have average level of satisfaction over a specific period. Happy people perceive the world as safer and feel more confident, they are cooperative, tolerant and make sound decisions. Happiness, as described by Martin Seligman is having three constituent parts viz pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Pleasure includes the "feel-good" part of happiness. Living a good life of family, work, friends, and hobbies refers to engagement. Meaning refers to the use of an individual's strengths and potentials to contribute to a large purpose. Myers (1992) exhibits that happiness promotes success in different areas of human functioning. Happy people are efficient, active, and productive in their work, they earn better income (Argyle, 2001). They are more positive and optimistic toward others (Seligman, 2002). Also they enjoy better physical, emotional, as well as mental health, and cope effectively with daily stressors than their counterparts (Vaillant, 2000).

Self esteem is the individual's personal opinion about him or herself and appreciation of his/her worth. It is a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the self. It essentially means how much a person values his or herself and how important he/she thinks is in this world. It is how a person sees him/ herself and how he /she feel about his/ her accomplishments (Rosenberg, 1965). Self esteem is one's general feelings of self worth (Bong & Clark, 1999). Self esteem is a principal component of mental health; it has pervasive and powerful impact on human cognition, emotion, motivation, and behavior (Campbell & Lavallee, 1993). People with high level of self esteem are likely to seek and receive more social support, experience low levels of stress and employ more adaptive coping strategies, which in turn promote good health (Orth, Robins, & Widaman, 2012).

Optimism, happiness, and self esteem are important aspects of psychological wellbeing; they have unavoidable and intense effect on student's academic performance, emotion, interest, motivation, and behavior.

Empirical evidence shows that optimism, pessimism, selfesteem, and happiness have significant effects on physical and mental well being (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010; Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 2001). Optimism is associated to higher academic performance (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992); better professional performance (Long, 1993); has positively correlated with psychological well being, individuals' success, academic achievement, and extraversión (Shaheen, 2015; Shepperd, Maroto, & Pbert, 1996; Norem & Chang, 2002). Optimists displayed better task performance in various domains than pessimists (Robbins, Spence, & Clark, 1991). Within this context, optimism is seen as a behavioral strategy that allows people to be happier, more successful and healthier in their lives (Lopez & Snyder, 2003). Significant relationship was also found between optimism and happiness. Further, results indicated that positivism predicts happiness significantly (Hills & Argyle, 2001) simultaneously happiness is strongly associated with optimism (Gorsy & Panwar, 2016). On the other hand, self esteem has positively correlated with happiness, and optimism (Baumeister, Jennifer, Joachim, & Kathleen, 2003; Bastianello, Pacico, & Hutz, 2014). …

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