If you are an optimist (sunny brain), or even if you are not, this explanation might help: optimism is connected the pleasure center in the brain.
Would this kind of study then suggest that pessimism is shaped by some lack in the pleasure center? Or that pessimists can be “rewired” through the pleasure center?
Because the experience of pleasure is fleeting, the pursuit of pleasure can all too easily spiral out of control, sometimes tipping into dangerous risk taking and addictions. But if kept under control, experiencing pleasure is the spark that strengthens the circuits and networks that make up the sunny brain. And one of the great benefits of the sunny brain is the optimistic mindset it nurtures, which is not only about feeling joy and happiness, or even just about feeling good or thinking positively about the future, but also about sticking with tasks that are meaningful and beneficial. Our sunny-brain circuits help us to stay focused on the things that bring us rewards, and this keeps us engaged on important tasks.
This is a central insight, backed up by anatomical evidence, of how our sunny brain works. Optimism is about more than feeling good; it’s about being engaged with a meaningful life, developing resilience, and feeling in control. This dovetails nicely with psychological research showing that the benefits of optimism come from the ability to accept the good along with the bad, and being prepared to work creatively and persistently to get what you want out of life. Optimistic realists, whom I consider to be the true optimists, don’t believe that good things will come if they simply think happy thoughts. Instead, they believe at a very deep level that they have some control over their own destinies.