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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2011 Sep;42(3):371-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.02.012. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

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

Author information

1
Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Yvo.Meevissen@maastrichtuniversity.nl

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.

PMID:
21450262
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.02.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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