Become more optimistic by imagining a best possible self: effects of a two week intervention

Y.M.C. Meevissen*, M.L. Peters, H.J.E.M. Alberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background and objectives: Optimism is a personality trait which has repeatedly been shown to correlate with, and predict psychological and physical well-being. The present study investigated whether optimism can be increased by imagining a best possible self (BPS). Effects were compared to a control group in which participants imagined their daily activities (DA). Methods: In order to minimize inter-individual differences in content of imagery, participants constructed their BPS according to 3 domains, namely a personal, relational, and professional domain. All participants were instructed to practice their imagery exercise for 5 min per day over a period of two weeks. Effects on optimism and mood were measured after one session, after one week and after two weeks. Results: Results indicated that BPS imagery led to significantly larger increases in optimism as compared to DA imagery, after one session and over a two week period. Effects on optimism remained after controlling for possible mediation by the change in positive mood. Limitations: In order to test the effectiveness of our BPS imagery intervention we relied exclusively on self-report measures. Conclusion: The present study confirmed that imagining a BPS enhances levels of optimism, independent of the mood effect. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Optimism
  • Intervention
  • Best possible self
  • Mood
  • ATTRIBUTIONAL STYLE QUESTIONNAIRE
  • PESSIMISM
  • ESTEEM
  • HEALTH
  • BENEFITS
  • IMAGERY
  • MOOD
  • LIFE
  • VALIDITY
  • BEHAVIOR

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