Seeing the World Through Rose-tinted Glasses: Why that May be a Good Thing

November 16, 2020

Louis Tay

The phrase “seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses” refers to individuals who have a tendency to see everything in a positive light, albeit potentially unrealistic light.

Some who prefer to see things with greater objectivity and accuracy may balk at this unduly optimistic view of life. But when it comes to personal well-being, it is clear that individuals who construe their life events positively tend to be happier. 

In compelling research by Sonya Lyubormirsky and Kari Tucker, college students nominated by peers as “very happy” compared to other students nominated as “very unhappy” actually reported similar forms of positive and negative objective life events. Simultaneously, self-rated happy college students tended to view positive and negative objective life events in a better light. They find humor in adversity and tended to emphasize recent improvements. Beyond that, when meeting the same new acquaintance, happier college students described this new acquaintance more positively than unhappy college students.

When we train ourselves to construe life in a positive light, we can reap greater well-being. Experimental research shows that people who were trained to imagine initially ambiguous scenarios resolving in a positive light had greater positive emotions and lower anxiety. Moreover, such training can help one see new scenarios in a positive light.

The next time you encounter an ambiguous or even a negative situation – put on your rose-tinted glasses! Perhaps that will help you find some good -- and more positivity.


Be well, 


Dr. Louis Tay

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science.  Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week!

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