The good news is 85 percent of Americans consider themselves optimistic. The bad news? Fifty-four percent of respondents to the 2018 Life is Good Optimism and Positivity Survey report anxiety stemming from two key factors: heightened violence and an unstable economy.
Overall, 44 percent of the 3,000 Americans surveyed report being more optimistic now than they were five years ago. Most attributed the change to stronger personal relationships. Strength of optimism was roughly even across gender and regions of the country. Eight-six percent of Americans are hopeful for a more positive future, albeit a kinder, gentler one; both self-identified optimists and pessimists think the world could use more compassion (63 percent), honesty (62 percent) and love (57 percent).
“The study shows that even with a constant barrage of negative news, Americans stay true to our national sense of optimism and resilience,” says Bert Jacobs, Life is Good co-founder and CEO. “Our hope is to bring attention to the power of optimism as a unifying force, and as a practical strategy for personal and professional growth.”
Other interesting survey findings include:
– Optimism ages like a fine wine: 18- to 29-year-olds are 9 percent less likely to be optimistic than 60- to 69-year-olds.
– Higher education contributed to a brighter outlook on life, with 82 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher identifying as optimistic.
– People who exercise at least once a week are 41 percent more likely to be optimistic than those who don’t.
– People who take time to meditate are 10 percent more likely to be optimistic.
– Respondents who used tech for 5-plus hours outside of work are 38 percent more likely to be pessimistic.
– Dog owners are 4 percent more likely to be optimistic than cat owners.
– Spending time with family and friends was a top hobby identified by 90 percent of the most positive segment.