Contrary to our reputation for moaning, four in five Brits are optimists, according to new research by the University College London.
The study found that Britons look on the brighter side of life when faced with the prediction of depressing events happening to them in the future. Volunteers had their brains scanned as they estimated their chances of suffering from a series of doom and gloom scenarios.
The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, discovered that those who underestimated their chances of coming face-to-face with bad news were less likely to adjust their estimated guess, than those who overestimated their odds of harm.
This means half of Brits prefer to look on the bright side, rather than dealing with the evidence in front of them, the study revealed.
“Seeing the glass half full rather than half empty can be a positive thing – it can lower stress and anxiety and be good for our health and well-being,” says researcher Tali Sharot, from UCL.
The study also hoped that the findings would help understand how people remain optimistic and use it to help treat those with depression.
However, before you feel too optimistic about the findings, researchers warned that those who were highly optimistic could be harmful.
“It can mean we are less likely to take precautionary action, such as practising safe sex or saving for retirement,” adds Sharot.