- This commentary reviews recent evidence that optimism is the result of emotional processes. The emotional basis of optimism appears to be part of a motivational system that typically functions quite well and allows people to identify the goals they want to pursue and situations they want to avoid. Sometimes, though, unjustified optimism can lead people to take excessive risks or fail to protect themselves from harm. Therefore, understanding the causes of optimism and identifying ways to reduce optimism when needed has implications for the quality and length of human lives. Recent research provides compelling evidence that optimism results when people have positive or negative affective reactions to a potential future event. Although optimism results from these automatic and emotional processes, analytic resources can be deployed to reduce optimism when people have an intense emotional reaction or when they are encouraged to use emotion regulation strategies. This commentary includes discussions of 1) the relationship between emotional reactions and optimistic judgments and how this relationship is impacted by a number of individual and situational factors, 2) the implications of this process for attempts to reduce optimism to encourage more realistic judgments, and 3) the implications of this process for health, wealth, and well-being. 2011 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.